Deebo Samuel has ruled NFL headlines this week. The NFL Draft might be just around the corner, but the 49ers wideout pushing for a trade has caught the sporting world by storm. There’s no reason that each of the 31 other franchises shouldn’t be immediately phoning up Niners GM John Lynch, and the Eagles should be at the front of the queue…or should they?
I wrote an article yesterday detailing why it’s an opportunity that’s too good to pass on. The Eagles have over $15M in cap space to sign a 26-year-old wideout who can do everything, and do it better than most. He’s the NFL’s most explosive playmaker and under Nick Sirianni, could still be used in creative ways that put him in a position to set the field on fire.
Unfortunately, things aren’t that simple.
According to Ian Rapoport, Samuel is both unhappy with his usage, and intent on securing a contract he deems worthy of that usage. This is going to likely make him the highest-paid non QB in the NFL, which is fine as it’s what he deserves after such a remarkable 2021 campaign. The Eagles can even afford to frontload that deal. This isn’t necessarily about the money.
Here’s a look at the Eagles’ target share in 2021, with Deebo Samuel’s targets listed underneath. (Not including his bazillion touches out of the backfield)
DeVonta Smith – 114
Dallas Goedert – 88
Quez Watkins – 69
Jalen Reagor – 60
Deebo Samuel – 121
As we know, the Eagles offense is run-heavy, and DeVonta Smith is the star of the receiving show, with Dallas Goedert also drawing a significant amount of attention. The problem presented is a simple one.
If Deebo wants a reduced role, the Eagles can provide that. But will that role be worth the likely ground-breaking money he wants? Probably not. Factor in that the Birds will be giving up a huge chunk of their draft capital in order to attain him in the first place, and suddenly those blue skies start to fade to grey.
There’s also the formatting of the offense. Do the Eagles want to cap DeVonta Smith’s ceiling and deviate from their focus on young players with high upsides on rookie contracts, to facilitate a player who in the short-term isn’t going to push the Eagles from being a pretender to a contender?
If anyone could make it work, it’s Nick Sirianni. However, at what cost? In a reduced role at the discretion of Deebo himself, the Eagles could be paying a top-10 talent #1 level money. Would it not make more sense to invest in the position through the multitude of high-value NFL Draft picks, and develop that talent organically, knowing there’s no ticking time bomb against the salary cap, and they have all the flexibility in the world to develop that talent?
That’s a decision for Howie Roseman to make…
Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire