The San Francisco 49ers were in a bind. After having one of the best offensives in football last season, they saw their star running back Deebo Samuel go down with an injury and be lost for the year. So now what? The Niners are still good enough to make it through another season without him, but do not have much time to find his replacement.
The “where did deebo samuel go to college” is a question that many San Francisco 49ers fans are asking. Deebo Samuel was drafted by the team in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft, but has not yet signed his contract with them. The 49ers have also not revealed where they plan on playing him.
SANTA CLARA (California) – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Deebo Samuel, a wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers, informed ESPN’s Jeff Darlington on Wednesday that he had sought a trade.
Samuel has been showing signals of dissatisfaction with the 49ers over the previous month or two, including deleting the team from his social media accounts and neglecting to attend the start of the 49ers’ offseason conditioning program this week.
And now there are many concerns about how a once-strong bond between a team and one of its top players has deteriorated to the point of no return.
What exactly is the problem?
Samuel’s rookie contract is coming to an end, and he’d prefer a substantial extension. Samuel is seen as a core player by the Niners, who have said that they want to retain him long term. The Niners are also expected to extend defensive end Nick Bosa’s contract in the near future. After protracted discussions, the Niners have gotten agreements done with players in comparable positions in prior years (tight end George Kittle and linebacker Fred Warner). However, those deals were made closer to training camp, enabling the Niners to prioritize free agency and the draft.
This year’s receiver market has skyrocketed, with contracts for Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs reshaping the going cost for a top wideout. While the ceiling has been raised, the floor has been lowered as well, with a less experienced wideout like Jacksonville’s Christian Kirk receiving an eye-popping $18 million per year deal.
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So Samuel is looking for a new job, and he isn’t alone. A.J. Brown of Tennessee, DK Metcalf of Seattle, and Terry McLaurin of Washington were all non-first-round choices in the same draft as Samuel (2019) and are eligible for extensions.
Samuel, on the other hand, is in a unique predicament. While other wideouts remaining on the market have lengthier track records as conventional receivers, Samuel’s success is mostly due to his additional value as a runner, which, in theory, could increase his price tag over that of the other wideouts on the market. However, its adaptability has a flip side. It raises Samuel’s earning potential while also putting a greater strain on his body and, perhaps, his career lifespan.
Samuel expressed his satisfaction with the dual duty at the conclusion of the season, coining the phrase “wide back.”
“I’m cool with that,” Samuel replied at the time. “Like I’ve said all year, I’m willing to do everything it takes to help this team win in any way.”
Coach Kyle Shanahan stated at the time that Samuel will play a “pretty similar” position in 2022, but that the Niners “had to be cautious with that.” Still, it’s reasonable to speculate that Samuel would like to play a more conventional receiving position (and therefore be compensated accordingly) or, at the at least, have his running back plays curtailed.
What choices do the 49ers have?
The Niners are not obligated to trade Samuel just because he has requested one. They have a few of choices:
Keep Samuel and fix whatever is wrong in order to sign him to a long-term contract. According to all indications, this is the Niners’ preferred option. They are keen on signing him and retaining him for the foreseeable future. They’ve tried to have conversations in recent weeks, but they’ve been fruitless. Deleting the club’s finest offensive weapon would be a difficult pill to take for any team, much alone one that was one victory away from the Super Bowl and is now prepared to give the ball over to Trey Lance, a rookie quarterback. Because Samuel and Shanahan are so close, it’s not impossible that the two sides may yet find common ground.
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Samuel will be sold to the highest bidder. The Niners are obviously opposed to this idea, but if the offers are compelling enough, they will have to examine it. After trading their first-round selection to move up for Lance last year, the 49ers don’t have one this year. The Niners would have to trade Samuel for a deal that includes first-round selections, much as they did with Adams and Hill. The Jets, who just lost out on Hill, would be a good fit since they have two first-round picks (Nos. 4 and 10) and are acquainted with Samuel because to their coaching staff, which includes former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. The Niners have already gritted their teeth and traded a guy they didn’t want, as they did with defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and the Indianapolis Colts in 2020. Trading Buckner was the most difficult thing John Lynch has had to do as a general manager, according to him. Samuel would likely rise to the top of the priority list if he were to be traded.
Keep Samuel and compel him to finish his last season before tagging him in 2023. This is the least probable scenario, and it would almost certainly end in a heated stare-down between the two parties. The Niners have considerable clout in this situation. Samuel may lose an accrued season and become a restricted free agent in 2023 if he does not report to training camp, according to the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which means the Niners would regain control of his rights. Samuel might choose to “hold in,” which is a frequent strategy for players looking for new contracts in which they report but do not participate in on-field activity. But, in order for the Niners to be on board, there would have to be some type of desire to work out an extension. Samuel playing out the season and the Niners tagging him with the option to trade him next offseason is the more probable scenario, albeit it comes with major risk for both sides. Samuel’s value on a new deal would be harmed by an injury, and the Niners’ trade value would be reduced.
When is it going to happen?
Rob Ninkovich reacts to news that Deebo Samuel is seeking a new contract with the 49ers after his breakthrough season.
If the Niners decide to move Samuel, they should do it as quickly as possible.
The NFL draft starts on April 28, and the 49ers should know not only whether they have a first-round selection, but also what gaps they need to address if they do. To say the least, losing Samuel would leave a huge void.
That doesn’t rule out the possibility of Samuel being moved in the future. However, if he’s still with the Niners by the conclusion of the first round, it should send a strong message about how the team plans to handle what has turned into a difficult issue.
Deebo Samuel is a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. He was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the team. The question that many are asking, is where do they go from here? Reference: how old is deebo samuel.
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