I find it WILD that the best offensive player for the San Francisco 49ers is asking for a trade. Deebo Samuel stated, per Jeff Darlington of ESPN, “He did not want to discuss specific reasons behind his request, but he has indeed let the 49ers know his desire to leave the organization.” Deebo is such a versatile player that he is, essentially, positionless. He can play any skill position the team needs and is not pigeon-holed into being just a wide receiver or running back or punt returner or kick returner. This makes him unique, and thus, valuable. There is no one in the NFL like Samuel. Deebo is not a player you can just replace with a veteran or through the draft. He understands his current role, how to play in the league, AND how to have and maintain success.
Additionally, Kyle Shanahan has done a masterful job of creating touches for Deebo that has allowed him to use his full compliment of skills…and those skills have helped lead the 49ers to past two NFC Conference Championship Games. The same cannot be said for every coach, including coaches in the NFL. Think Percy Harvin when he was in the league. Shanahan has been given the moniker of “genius” throughout his time as an offensive coordinator. Where that “genius” lies is in his ability to find the weakness of the defense, create formations and motions that attack those weaknesses and then an ability to counter the defenses adjustments. In layman’s terms, Shanahan uses his most gifted and explosive athletes against the softest part of the defense. The relationship between Shanahan and Deebo seemed to be symbiotic, with each party benefiting from the skills of the other.
Something has occurred between the Niners and Deebo that has pushed Samuel to ask for a trade. Samuel stated it’s because of how he was used in the offense, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport. That could be the reason. It seems improbable. Finding more ways to take advantage of Deebo’s skills is, seemingly, in Shanahan’s wheelhouse. What seems more probable is the communication, personalities, and/or off-field interactions between Samuel, Shanahan, and the Niners have created a chasm so wide that it’s unable to be mended. While he may have been frustrated with how he was used in the offense, it doesn’t seem plausible that that singular issue would create such discontent as to implode the relationship.
As of now, two things are clear: Samuel’s request and the 49ers desire not to trade him. It’s important to note that the Niners have the leverage in this situation. The “why” hasn’t been shared and we may never know the real reason and, invariably, any comments that come from Shanahan or 49ers’ general manager John Lynch will be “coach speak.” Lots of words that say little to nothing about the topic.
The Niners will, most likely, start 2nd-year quarterback Trey Lance from North Dakota State this coming season and, unless they get a TRUCKLOAD of talent and picks, will be playing with an unhappy WR/RB/PR/KR1.
In the end, the only person who knows the real reason is Deebo.