After a breakout 2021 performance, Samuel belongs in the upper echelons of NFL wide receivers just as much as those guys, and he arguably brings more to the table to the Jets.
For one, the Kyle Shanahan-Robert Saleh connection increases Samuel's projected value, as much of New York's coaching staff already knows Samuel from their shared time in San Francisco.
Currently, San Francisco hasn't indicated that Samuel is up for sale, and the only morsel of bad blood in 49ers' camp is Samuel scrubbing his social media of everything team-related.
If there's even the slightest chance the 49ers decide to part ways with their star receiver, though, the Jets have to be ready with the 10th overall pick (and likely more draft capital) in their hands.
According to Spotrac, Samuel currently earns about $1.8 million a year, ranking 75th among active receivers, which means he's due for a monstrous payday. The rumors of his potential departure all stem from the assumption that the 49ers aren't willing to meet Samuel's financial demands.
Enter New York.
This is what the Jets have prepared for all offseason. The Jets have the means to pay Samuel's asking price (even if that means giving him $70 million in guaranteed money) and to offer substantial draft capital to the 49ers to seal the deal.
Whatever they offered to Kansas City for Hill, offer the same to San Francisco for Samuel.
NY Jets must be prepared to part with high draft picks in return for 49ers' Deebo Samuel
Last season, Samuel hauled in 77 receptions, 1,405 yards (ranked fifth in the league), and six touchdowns as a receiver. He also added 59 carries for 365 yards and eight rushing touchdowns as a pseudo-running back.
That's 1,770 combined yards and 14 touchdowns for Samuel, who has since been dubbed a "wide back" due to his amoeba-like versatility.
Samuel's most prized trait is somehow making bad quarterbacks look good (sorry, Jimmy G). While this isn't a knock on Zach Wilson in any way, bringing on an impact player like Samuel could be just what the doctor ordered for a Year 2 quarterback struggling to make his mark in the league.
With two top-10 picks and two second-rounders in the 2022 draft, the Jets could go after a promising wideout prospect like USC's Drake London or Alabama's Jameson Williams, which would pose as the more cost-effective route.
But none of those receivers can play in the same stratosphere as Samuel, and Wilson's dirt-cheap contract means the Jets have a narrow window to splurge on high profile targets before he and other rookies outprice their stay in New York.
Exchanging, say, picks No. 10 and No. 38 for Samuel shouldn't make New York think twice.
It makes sense for San Francisco, too, who can turn those picks into a quality wideout and running back prospect to fill the void Samuel leaves behind.
We're all for hoarding picks and drafting and developing a young Jets core, but a unicorn talent like Samuel only comes once in a generation.
Trading for Samuel will also make the Jets forget all that nastiness from their failed pursuit of Tyreek Hill. Who? Hill? We only know Samuel.