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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

10 questions I’d love to ask 49ers WR Deebo Samuel

Marc Adams
Apr 27, 2022 at 12:18 PM--

Deebo Samuel. He's all anyone wants to talk about right now, especially among Bay Area sports fans and media. He's reportedly unhappy and wants to be traded. Is it just a lack of patience? Did he receive an offer that was lower than what he thought he'd receive? Is he trying to hold leverage over the San Francisco 49ers, so he can get as much out of a new contract as possible?

I won't try to speak for Samuel or try to ascertain what is going on with him. I'd rather just wait and hear from him. There are a lot of questions surrounding the star player. And if I could get him off the record, there are some questions I certainly would like to ask him.

1. Are you upset with how Jimmy Garoppolo was treated?

I really doubt this is an issue, but it stands to reason that Samuel, along with some of his teammates, may not have been happy with the way the 49ers treated Jimmy Garoppolo over the last year or more. After all, Garoppolo is a locker room favorite. And the 49ers didn't hide their desire to get rid of him.

From flirting with trading for Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers to drafting Trey Lance, they have been open with their eagerness to move on from him. Could Samuel have taken offense to this?

I'll admit, I have concerns that the Garoppolo situation has made multiple players lose trust in the organization.

2. Do you have concerns about Trey Lance?

Samuel's skill set seems to blend perfectly with Garoppolo's skill set. Garoppolo has a quick release, which makes him a great quarterback for some of the routes Samuel runs. It is possible that with Lance at quarterback, Samuel's production suffers because Lance is more likely to spread the ball all over the field? Lance would seem to benefit Brandon Aiyuk more than Samuel. Could Samuel be concerned about that? Keep in mind that Samuel has caught a few long balls from Lance. So his statistics are likely a non-factor.

Or could Samuel be concerned about a Super Bowl-caliber team turning the driver's seat over to a second-year player with very little experience, instead of sticking with the guy who has taken them to two NFC Championship Games in three seasons? It doesn't mean he doesn't believe in Lance, but Samuel may have concerns.

Remember, Joe Montana said he had heard (from players) that Lance wasn't ready. Could Samuel have been one of those? Most likely not. And I believe Montana heard those things early on last season when Lance wasn't ready yet. But it's still an interesting question to ask.

3. Have the 49ers offered you a contract extension?

The 49ers have, reportedly, not offered Samuel a contract yet. But reports are often wrong. I'd like to know if they have or not. If they haven't, this could be part of Samuel's frustration. Maybe he's just a little impatient and doesn't want to wait until training camp to get a deal done.

4. If so, was that offer much lower than what you expected?

If Samuel has been offered something already, his actions would suggest it was much lower than what he expected. Samuel certainly deserves whatever he can get. Hall of Famer Michael Irvin loves Deebo Samuel. He thinks Samuel should be in the discussion of MVP-type players. On his podcast recently, Irvin said, "If I'm his agent, what I'm saying to everybody, 'Davante Adams had Aaron Rodgers. Tyreek Hill had Patrick Mahomes. I had the dude you all are trying to get rid of [Garoppolo], and I still did what I did."

That's a great point. Samuel should be one of the top-paid wide receivers, even though he hasn't produced like them yet. And it's because he's such a unique weapon. And right now is his first chance to cash in. It may be the best chance he has. After all, he's the talk of the league, following how the 49ers used him down the road. Teams are now looking for "the next Deebo."

And with his physical style of play, injuries could start to mount, causing him to not be as productive in a few years. This could be his only shot at the contract he deserves.

5. Did you have a falling out with Kyle Shanahan, another coach, or the front office?

By all accounts, Samuel is tight with head coach Kyle Shanahan. It would be hard for me to think something could have created a rift between them. Of course, money can do just that.

Did Samuel have a falling out with his coach or another coach on the team? Could he be upset with the front office? Maybe he was upset with the front office, and now he's upset with his coach for not taking his side. Who knows?

It's hard to say, but if things can sour between Joe Montana and the 49ers, or between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, then it can certainly happen between Samuel and the current Santa Clara regime.

6. Do you prefer not to be used like you were late last season?

After the season, Samuel referred to himself as a "wide back." My initial thought was that his agent was going to hate that. Wide receiver? Yes. Running back? No. Wide back? Another no. In the NFL, receivers get paid, and running backs don't. So Samuel's agent would likely want him to be paid as a wide receiver, and that alone.

When Samuel labeled himself a "wide back," it seemed to indicate that he liked that role. But maybe he doesn't. Maybe his agent convinced him to rebuff that moniker. Maybe Samuel is feeling the effects of playing that role and doesn't want to do it anymore.

The 49ers used him as a running back a lot last season (mostly late in the season). It was primarily due to injuries to some of the running backs, but it was very effective. Perhaps the 49ers want to continue doing that, and Samuel doesn't believe that's best for his future.

I saw how effective Samuel was in that role. But I didn't like that they were using him that way so much. I've seen the toll that the running back position takes on a player's body. I'm old enough to remember the great Earl Campbell in his prime. He had the perfect body for a running back. But the Houston Oilers ran him into the ground, and his Hall of Fame career was short-lived, as a result. I don't want that happening to Deebo Samuel.

7. Have you been granted permission to seek a trade?

Some reports say the 49ers have granted Samuel permission to seek a trade, while others refute this. The only way to truly know is to ask Samuel. I'd love to know the answer and see which teams he is interested in or not interested in.

Whoever that team might be, they had better be prepared to pay enough that it hurts. Because losing Samuel will hurt the 49ers. The only way that is acceptable is if the other team pays a king's ransom for him.

Today, NFL insider Michael Lombardi joined 95.7 The Game and shared that he's hearing the 49ers want two first-round picks for Samuel. I actually think the team may want more.

NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported today that there is currently no news on Samuel being traded. Said Rapoport, "With the clock ticking prior to tomorrow's first round of the NFL Draft, all is quiet on the Deebo Samuel front. One phone call can change it. But nothing is currently imminent."

8. Are you wanting to prove you can be a superstar without Shanahan?

This may seem like a silly question, but sometimes athletes think this way. I can remember some of the 49ers players, after Bill Walsh retired, saying they wanted to win the Super Bowl even more in 1989 because they wanted to prove they could do it without Walsh. This wasn't a disrespectful jab at Walsh. If anything, it showed great respect for him, because of the amount of credit he deservedly received.

It's similar now. Shanahan gets a lot of credit for the offensive success, as he should. And many say that Samuel is a product of the Shanahan system. Could Samuel want to prove otherwise?

Last month, Irvin was on 95.7 The Game with Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto. During the interview, Irvin talked about he spoke with Samuel during the Super Bowl. Irvin told Samuel, "Hey man, get all you can. But I think it would be best for you to stay with San Francisco, to stay with Kyle Shanahan." Irvin said that after he spoke those words, Samuel looked at him funny, as if he didn't take what Irvin said very well. Could he have been bothered by Irvin's suggestion that he needs Shanahan? Maybe he's tired of hearing how Shanahan made him. Or maybe I'm reading too much into this.

9. Can this relationship be repaired?

NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco is saying the rift between the 49ers and Samuel has become personal. If true, then this may not be as simple as working out a contract extension and having Samuel show up for training camp in late July. If it has become personal, it's possible the relationship is beyond repair. And if that's the case, it's best to move on.

That said, I doubt it has reached the point of being irreparable. The 49ers front office, head coach, and Samuel himself are all really good people. I'm sure they'll be able to get past this.

10. Are you just toying with all of us?

Maybe Samuel isn't upset at all. Maybe he's just having fun at our expense. We should know the truth over the next few months.

Ultimately, I still see this being worked out. Losing a player of Samuel's caliber would set the 49ers back. It's futile to speculate what's going on with Samuel and the team. It's best just to be patient and wait for both sides to speak when they're ready.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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