Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Rapoport on the Deebo Samuel, 49ers situation: ‘I think they can get it settled’

May 23, 2022 at 11:51 AM--

On Monday, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel would not attend the team's organized team activities, which start today. The wideout showing up would have gone a long way in the team's efforts to mend its relationship with the do-it-all star player, even if Samuel didn't participate in on-field activities. At least, that is what Rapoport expressed during a Monday interview on The Pat McAfee Show.

That doesn't mean Rapoport feels that situation is impossible to resolve. In fact, the NFL insider feels Samuel does eventually return to the 49ers, which wasn't a certainty in April when news broke that the wideout had requested a trade. San Francisco obviously didn't grant that wish, and it doesn't look like it will.

"I would say I think they can get it settled," Rapoport told McAfee. "I don't believe it is settled right now. And there's a lot of work that has to be done. When a player asks for a trade, basically says he does not want to be there, and it has nothing to do with the contract—because remember, he basically told them, 'Don't offer me a contract. I'm not going to take it. I want to be traded'—there is some work that has to get done.

"Kyle Shanahan is very charismatic and also very good at making sure football players are good at their jobs. He's a great play designer. He has helped Deebo Samuel become the dynamic weapon he has been. So I think they can get it worked out, but they are not there yet, and it has more to do than just contract."

Since neither side is willing to discuss the reasoning behind Samuel's unhappiness with the 49ers, the media has been left to speculate. One rumor was that the receiver was tired of his dual role on offense. He carried the football 59 times during the 2021 regular season.

In February, head coach Kyle Shanahan shared that he envisions Samuel having a similar role in 2022. Maybe that didn't sit well with Samuel, who may be worried about his NFL longevity. Of course, that too seems to be speculation at this point.

"I think the fact that the 49ers drafted a running back in the mid-rounds ... was actually valuable and important because then he doesn't have to be used as a running back as much as maybe he was last year," Rapoport shared. "That is probably an important part of this, along with the contract and whatever else."

Continuing on the speculation that Samuel is unhappy with his role—a report that Samuel seemingly dismissed via social media—would he be content with a heavy dose of carries if he were well-compensated for them?

"I don't think so," Rapoport responded. "I think it's more career longevity. And running backs, it hurts, you get injured all the time, you have short careers. You've seen the contracts of running backs. It's different. As a receiver, those guys are getting paid like nothing we've ever seen, and you can play into your 30s as a receiver."

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