Joe Douglas may still make his big wide receiver splash.
The Jets could still swing a trade for disgruntled 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. In fact, it could go down Thursday night during the 2022 NFL Draft.
“What I’m hearing: Deebo Samuel/Jets ain’t dead yet,” Cimini tweeted. “This sets up the possibility of the ultimate draft-night drama. Quite possible both teams waiting to see what’s available at (No.) 10 before pulling trigger.”
The Jets have two top-10 picks at Nos. 4 and 10. The fourth pick is not on the table. But Douglas is open for business with the 10th pick and he has been angling to get quarterback Zach Wilson a go-to receiver all offseason. Samuel would be just that — a dynamic weapon that transforms the offense.
Samuel recently demanded a trade. His motivation is a bit murky, as has spent more time criticizing reports about his desires than actually clarifying them. The Niners initially put on a brave face, signaling they did not plan to trade Samuel and believed they could work through whatever issues exist. But Samuel has shown no sign of backing away from his trade request. Which means the Niners have to be realistic and start investigating how they move on from Samuel with sufficient compensation in return.
The Jets — who have close ties with the Niners given head coach Robert Saleh’s time as the team’s defensive coordinator — would need to hammer out the parameters of a deal before the draft, according to Cimini. There are too many moving pieces in terms of return to the Niners and Samuel’s contract status (he will be a free agent after this season). But if a tentative agreement is reached, the Jets could be in position to pull off the blockbuster as long as the Niners have a player they want available at No. 10.
The big question Douglas must ask himself: Is Samuel — and the big payday he is about to get — a better bet than, say, Jameson Williams or Garrett Wilson at No. 10?