The day San Francisco 49ers fans have been dreading has come. There’s been some smoke suggesting superstar wide receiver/wide back/football extraordinaire Deebo Samuel is unhappy, removing all references to the Niners off his social media, but now we know for sure. Samuel has formally requested a trade according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington who personally spoke to the All-Pro.
Darlington adds that Samuel didn’t wish to get into the why he’s demanding a trade, but he has communicated his feelings to the 49ers and that he wishes to no longer play for the franchise. There are more details expected to follow.
Possible reasons for Samuel’s sudden unhappiness in San Fran
While Samuel didn’t want to expand on why he’s upset with the team, we will.
This offseason has been unique in the wide receiver market. For one, former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk, who Samuel has seen on the opposite sidelines twice per season in the NFC West, received a four-year $72 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s notable because Samuel’s production this past season nearly doubled that of Kirk’s. In other words, Samuel wants to get paid, certainly more than Kirk.
Then, there’s the outlandish deals that Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill received at $28M and $30M respectively. Samuel is looking around and sees money signs everywhere he looks, except in his bank account, unlike these other receivers who Samuel likely argues are on a similar level as him, if not less versatile.
- Deebo Samuel contract: $4.89 cap hit in 2022
In addition to being an effective receiver, Samuel takes a beating taking carries out of the backfield, which he and his agency likely use as a bargaining chip at the negotiation table. There have been reports suggesting Samuel wants to be paid as the top-earning non QB in football. Based on his perspective, he’s earned it and if the 49ers aren’t willing to meet that price, his camp will find someone who will.
- Deebo Samuel stats (2021-22): 77 receptions, 1,405 receiving yards, 6 TD catches, 365 rushing yards, 8 rushing TD
Another underrated possibility is the ongoing situation with Jimmy Garoppolo, who’s known to have a strong support staff within the locker room. Maybe Samuel isn’t fond of moving forward with Trey Lance, preferring to keep the quarterback who led the team to the NFC Championship round, while developing strong chemistry with Samuel.
Chances are, it has nothing to do with Jimmy G. For Deebo, it’s all about the Benjamins.
Which teams could be first in line to trade for Deebo Samuel?
Here we go. Which teams wouldn’t be interested in trading for an all-purpose receiver who can impact the game in a variety of ways? Even a quarterback who struggles with accuracy inconsistencies could find success with Samuel. The 49ers have provided the blueprint on how to get him involved in the game, it wouldn’t be difficult to maintain that success elsewhere.
While teams would line up for a chance to trade for one of the best young receivers in the game, the most important factor here may be who’s willing to meet Samuel’s contract demands. Or possibly better yet, who can afford to.
Even then, cap space can only get you so far. It has to be a trade that entices the 49ers, which likely means a team will have to fork over at least a first-round selection plus other trade capital, whether it be players or picks. Maybe it will even be a package deal, including Jimmy G along with Samuel?
- Atlanta Falcons: Complete lack of talent at the wide receiver position, they already use Cordarrelle Patterson in a multitude of ways, why not add Samuel to create added confusion?
- Buffalo Bills: This is a sleeper choice, but imagine if the Bills chose to pair Samuel with Stefon Diggs? Added struggles in the running game could increase the intrigue for Buffalo. Gabriel Davis could even be a trade chip. Pick No. 25+ Davis isn’t a bad starting point.
- Detroit Lions: Why not? We’ve heard plenty about Dan Campbell-type players, well that’s Samuel to a T. They also have a strong need for wide receiver talent and Samuel has seen Jared Goff quite a bit from his days with the Rams. Maybe he’s a fan.
- Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers has been left with a receiving corps that won’t help him get another Lombardi. Samuel would change that in a jiffy. They also have the draft picks, but do they have the cap space? And is Samuel interested in joining a team for maybe just a few years paired with AR12?
- Kansas City Chiefs: Here’s a team with cap space and draft capital, plus a potential need for a game-breaking receiver. They also have the benefit of having this dude named Patrick Mahomes. For Samuel, teaming up with Mahomes has to be a dream that just might be able to come true. Then again, trading Tyreek and then paying Samuel would be very odd.
- Los Angeles Chargers: A trade such as this wouldn’t require Samuel to move far, he’d still have beautiful weather, and would form a devastating duo with Justin Herbert over the next few years. The Chargers have a strong team, but Samuel could put them over the top.
- New England Patriots: We’ve seen Bill Belichick be more willing to spend in free agency, but is he willing to go to the very top of the food chain? Samuel has undeniable talent, and there’s little question The Hoodie would get great use out of his skillset but are they willing to meet the 49ers’ trade demands? Mac Jones sure hopes so.
- New Orleans Saints: Needing to complement Michael Thomas, the Saints will likely add a receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft, but getting Samuel on the roster would be a drastic improvement for their wide receiver depth chart.
- New York Jets: The idea that the Jets need a top-flight wideout isn’t anything new. Landing Samuel gives Zach Wilson an easy weapon to develop chemistry with. The Jets should be pushing hard for a Samuel trade while their QB is still on his rookie deal.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Another team desperate for another outside weapon, the Eagles have plenty of draft capital in addition to a QB on his rookie contract. Not to mention, dropping Deebo into this rushing attack would be unfair for NFC East defenses.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: This would be a fine way to ensure Mitch Trubisky has a host of skilled targets in his arsenal. Kick the can down another year in their QB search, but maybe they feel they already have one? At least they’d have a filthy group of skill-position players.
- Washington Commanders: Another team needing to improve their receiver corps, the Commanders could solve some backfield issues while adding another playmaker for Carson Wentz opposite of Terry McLaurin. Size, speed, and power, that’s a potent bunch.