The NFL’s wide receiver frenzy just got a little crazier.
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, WR Deebo Samuel has requested a trade from the 49ers, per ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. Earlier this week, Samuel was named one of several receivers who would reportedly sit out the start of training camp.
Further thickening the plot, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that money is not the main reason why Samuel requested the trade, as San Francisco’s attempts to discuss a long-term extension have been met with silence.
Rapoport adds that Samuel has been uncomfortable with how he’s been utilized in the 49ers offense — a hybrid RB/WR role that was nothing short of spectacular last season, but that puts him at greater risk for injury.
- After missing 10 games in 2020, Samuel caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards and six TDs.
- He carried 59 times for 365 yards (6.2 YPC) and eight TDs.
- For his efforts, the 26-year-old was awarded Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors.
- Samuel is undeniably underpaid: His $1.8M average salary ranks 78th in the league for 2022.
Samuel’s defection would leave SF scrambling to rebuild an offense for a team otherwise ready to compete now. The 49ers lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in the NFC Championship Game, and their defense ranked seventh in the NFL last season by DVOA.
But if they can acquire a high draft pick for Samuel and/or QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the Niners could take advantage of a loaded WR class in next week’s Draft.