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NFL media speculation prompts new theory for Deebo Samuel-49ers discord

Jul 10, 2022 at 1:18 PM

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Earlier this offseason, unhappy San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel requested to be traded. The Niners did not oblige. Samuel remains on the roster, and the 49ers continue their work to make the star player happy and lock him up to a contract extension.

Neither Samuel nor the 49ers have discussed the reasoning behind the receiver's trade request. That has left many in the national media to speculate about the cause. Some wondered if Samuel was unhappy with his dual-threat role as a receiver and running back last season and the toll that could take over time. Others theorized that Samuel might not want to play on the West Coast, preferring to be closer to his South Carolina roots.

This past week, FS1's Colin Cowherd and Bally Sports writer Mike Silver floated another idea out there—that Samuel might be unhappy about the 49ers' quarterback switch. Of course, this only seems like speculation at this point, with neither offering evidence that the theory might be true.

Last season, Garoppolo and the 49ers reached the NFC Championship Game for the second time in three years. Samuel enjoyed a breakout season with Garoppolo throwing him the majority of his receptions. The wideout amassed 1,770 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns. One thousand four hundred and five of those yards and six of the touchdowns came through the air and after the catch.

The 49ers are transitioning from Garoppolo to last year's No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance.

"Deebo Samuel got really upset, and we're still not sure why," Silver said on the Colin Cowherd Podcast (h/t Fox Sports). "And I'll try to find out once we start doing actual live journalism again now that we're fighting through the understandable access issues caused by the pandemic. But maybe Deebo is upset because he wants to get paid now, and the reason he feels an urgency is because he knows Jimmy can get that ball in a way that sets him up for lots and lots and damage."

RELATED NFL reporter discusses reports of 49ers QB Trey Lance's "arm fatigue"

Cowherd seemingly agreed that Silver's theory was at least plausible.

"This was the Stefon Diggs issue," Cowherd noted. "Stefon's like, 'I've got a quarterback (Kirk Cousins) that doesn't throw deep.'"

In 2020, the Minnesota Vikings traded Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, going from Cousins to Josh Allen. Diggs has recorded his two best campaigns since the move.

When comparing a Garoppolo-Samuel pairing to a Lance-Samuel one, the former produced 18.1 yards per reception while the latter had a comparable 18.4 yards per reception. Of course, Garoppolo isn't known for his deep-ball accuracy, which might not be a big concern for Samuel. The 49ers receiver has no problem causing severe damage after the catch on intermediate passes.

"Yeah, I think there's a reason Deebo felt so strongly and so urgently about it," Silver continued. "And there may be other reasons, and I hope to be able to tell you exactly what they are in due time, but in the meantime, it also makes me wonder."

With Samuel still on the 49ers roster, it seems likely that the receiver and team will come to some sort of agreement in the coming weeks. Players report to training camp on July 26. The Niners typically like to finalize contract extensions before players take the field for their first practice.

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