So Deebo Samuel has become the hot topic du jour in the NFL.
He wants to be traded from the San Francisco 49ers. And he wants a contract that pays him at least $ 25 million per season.
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But why does he want out?
And where is he going to go?
One NFL player who has spoken with Samuel in recent weeks told OutKick Thursday morning it’s because Samuel wants to be regarded as a premier NFL receiver. Period.
“He ain’t all about people thinking he is some utility guy,” the player said.
Samuel showed his versatility with the 49ers in 2021, collecting a career high 1,405 receiving yards but also rushing 59 times for a career high 365 yards.
So perhaps Samuel, who seemingly embraced the role as a rusher in the backfield and on sweeps last season, wants to show he’s as good a receiver as any without the additional bells and whistles of playing as a running back.
But maybe he doesn’t want to expose his body to taking as many hits like running backs do. And perhaps he doesn’t see a way for his role to change in San Francisco if he stays there.
Sidenote: It’s likely any team that tries to trade for Samuel will believe his versatility running the ball out of the backfield would be something to add to the offense rather than simply ignoring it.
And now as to where he’s going to go:
The San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday started receiving multiple calls from teams asking about Samuel. It’s unknown what teams specifically called and whether they were just exploratory calls to measure San Francisco’s willingness to trade Samuel or calls with firm offers.
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But one NFL source said he heard the 49ers were very cool to the idea of trading Samuel.
It’s possible this is how the 49ers are going to handle the situation – by declining to trade Samuel.
It’s also possible the 49ers are simply taking an initial negotiating stance.
The timing of this situation is quite good for everyone involved.
If the 49ers want to trade Samuel, the week before and all the way up to the first two rounds of the NFL draft is a good time to get a premium pick for Samuel.
And teams needing a top receiver and willing to make that trade can actually allow themselves to be on the clock – if it takes that long for a deal to manifest – and see what receivers from the draft class are available before offering a pick or picks for Samuel.