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The NFL Draft gets under way next Thursday, and there is a lot of hand wringing among fans that Howie Roseman will go to the well for a third straight year and draft a wide receiver with one of his two first-round picks.
But the news that broke today – 49ers WR Deebo Samuel requesting a trade from his team – should change everything.
While acquiring Samuel will likely cost more than one of the team’s 2022 first-rounders, you know what you’re getting in return: One of the most versatile, productive offensive weapons in the game today.
Last season, Samuel finished third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,770). He’s the first player in NFL history to have more than 1,400 receiving yards and more than 300 rushing yards in a single season.
This trade takes the guesswork away from drafting a wide receiver who might produce and might fit into Nick Sirianni’s system.
Sirianni showed that he can change his offensive game plan on a dime last season. When the passing game showed it didn’t have nearly enough playmakers to sustain an offense, Sirianni pivoted and went run-heavy, and it worked, in the short-term.
The addition of Samuel will give the Eagles two wide receivers (including DeVonta Smith) who can make a game-changing play at any moment. Sirianni can do what he was brought to Philadelphia to do: Take the training wheels off and open up the passing game.
The 2018 Colts – with Sirianni as offensive coordinator and a healthy Andrew Luck at quarterback – had the second-ranked passing offense in the NFL, and ranked fifth in points scored. All that production was done without a dynamic player at the wide receiver spot. T.Y. Hilton was the leading receiver with 1,270 yards, a mark he hasn’t come close to approaching since.
Pairing Samuel with Smith will also serve another franchise goal: seeing exactly what you have in QB Jalen Hurts. Whether or not you judge him based on last year, if he begins the season with an arsenal like Samuel, Smith, Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders, there would be no room for excuses.
Roseman has done all of his number crunching to clear more than $15 million in salary cap space for 2022. That’s plenty of room to not only add Samuel, but lock him down to a front-loaded long-term deal.
What would a trade package look like? One of the Eagles' 2022 first round picks, along with a third and a fourth-round pick, along the lines of what the Dolphins sent to the Chiefs for Tyreek Hill. Hill commanded five picks in all - a low first-rounder (No. 29), a second-rounder (No. 50), and a fourth-rounder this year, along with a fourth and sixth-round pick next season. Samuel is valuable, but not yet at Hill's level of value as of yet.
Roseman knows better than anyone that the draft is a dice roll. In adding Samuel, he would be bringing in a sure thing.