Deebo Samuel Trade Rumors: 49ers Dealing with WR's 'Unhappiness' for a 'Month or So'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 10: Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers speaks during an interview on day 2 of SiriusXM at Super Bowl LVI  on February 10, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

The news of Deebo Samuel's trade request broke last week, but the San Francisco 49ers have known of his frustrations for a long time.

ESPN's Jeff Darlington said Monday on SportsCenter that the 49ers "have been dealing with Deebo Samuel's unhappiness for the past month or so":

"No reconciliation yet between Deebo Samuel and the San Francisco 49ers. Deebo is remaining with his feet in the ground on this. He does still want to be traded from the 49ers organization. We should point out by the way that while we broke the news last week, it's not something that was news to the 49ers. They have been dealing with Deebo Samuel's unhappiness for the past month or so. It's been very clear to them that Deebo wanted out, so they tried to do everything they possibly can to make him happy. He has remained adamant that he wants to be traded. This is a 49ers team that's still reluctant to do that deal. That being said, we're now inside the week of the NFL daft and if Deebo is going to be traded before the start of this season, these are the four days that it is most likely to happen. That is why there's so much urgency on this right now."

Samuel went public with his trade request last week, with Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reporting money is a secondary issue with his frustration. The do-everything wideout is reportedly frustrated with his role on the team, particularly his usage as a runnin gback. 

“It sounds like there’s multiple layers to this, but certainly one of them is Deebo Samuel wants to be a receiver and not a receiver/running back,” NFL Network's Tom Pelissero said on the Rich Eisen Show.  “His rushing attempts were significantly up last season from where they’ve been in the past. We all know that he’s a really, really physical player, but there probably are some concerns here about longevity."

Rich Eisen Show @RichEisenShow

Deebo's trade request became public just after we hung up with <a href="https://twitter.com/TomPelissero?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomPelissero</a> in our first hour so we had to call him back to explain what went wrong in San Francisco:<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a> <a href="https://t.co/lveW0WP1fD">pic.twitter.com/lveW0WP1fD</a>

Samuel carried the ball a career-high 59 times in 2021, recording 365 yards and eight touchdowns. Over the second half of the season, Samuel had nearly double the amount of carries (53) as receptions (28). That trend continued in the playoffs, when Samuel toted the rock 27 times as a runner while making only 10 receptions.

While the 49ers likely used Samuel's skills out of the backfield as a way to get the ball in his hands more reliably than a Jimmy Garoppolo pass, the Pro Bowler has a point about running back longevity. Running back is considered the NFL's most fungible offensive position, with teams rarely giving them the same type of long-term security given to wide receivers.

Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs all got massive contracts this offseason that helped reset the wideout market. Hill and Adams got their new deals, in part, because they helped facilitate trades to new teams.

It's likely Samuel saw that strategy play out and wanted that, along with a more traditional role, for himself.