Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff: Disgruntled WR Deebo Samuel ‘one of the best in the league’

Detroit Free Press

Jared Goff has thought about the possibility, and Brad Holmes acknowledged he has discussed it with his staff.

But a week before the NFL draft, no one can say whether the Detroit Lions will be serious contenders for Deebo Samuel, should the San Francisco 49ers make their disgruntled wide receiver available in a trade.

“We discuss every player that could become available,” Holmes said at his annual pre-draft news conference Thursday. “Anytime a player becomes available, anytime a player is being discussed on the trade market, we do have discussions. We leave them in-house.”

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Samuel, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, told ESPN on Wednesday he requested a trade, for reasons that remain unclear.

A first-team All-Pro selection, Samuel emerged as one of the NFL’s most dynamic playmakers while leading the 49ers to the NFC championship game last season. He played snaps at receiver, running back and as a kick returner, scored 14 touchdowns and finished with nearly 1,800 yards from scrimmage.

The Lions have been relatively quiet in a wild NFL offseason that has seen star veterans Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill change teams via trade.

But they remain in need of upgrades at the offensive skill positions ahead of next week’s draft, and could use a No. 1-caliber receiver to pair with Amon-Ra St. Brown and free-agent addition DJ Chark.

Adams and Hill signed contracts after their trades that drastically altered the wide receiver market, and Samuel, 26, likely will be looking for a similar deal.

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That could be a non-starter for Holmes and the Lions, who have prioritized building through the draft and have extensions to do this summer with tight end T.J. Hockenson and cornerback Amani Oruwariye.

The Lions, with two first-round picks and three of the draft’s first 34 selections, have the draft capital to pull off a trade with the 49ers, who do not pick until the end of the second round (No. 61 overall). The Green Bay Packers traded Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for first- and second-round selections, while the Kansas City Chiefs dealt Hill to the Miami Dolphins for a package of five picks, including first- and second-round choices.

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Goff said he believes Samuel would fit in well with the Lions — “Yeah, of course,” he said — but that any decision to pursue the receiver is out of his hands.

“He’s a great player and one of the best in the league,” Goff said. “But again, not up to me. You guys got to ask Brad all these questions. These aren’t for me.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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