It looks like star wide receiver/running back Deebo Samuel and the San Francisco 49ers are headed for a breakup.
According to ESPN's Jeff Darlington, Samuel has asked the Niners to trade him, for reasons he hasn't yet revealed.
Breaking News: I just spoke to wide receiver Deebo Samuel — and he told me that he has asked the 49ers to trade him.
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. More to come.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) April 20, 2022
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Samuel asked the Niners for a trade a week ago and that the team has "been aware of Deebo’s feelings for a while." They'd reportedly been looking to extend Samuel for the long haul, and his feelings are why there had been no talks on a contract extension.
The #49ers have been looking to make offers for a long-term deal with WR Deebo Samuel, but he’s been unwilling to engage. This is why. Unclear where this goes from here. But Samuel wanting out is the latest in big-name WR drama.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 20, 2022
We don't know what Samuel's reasons are, but we may know what they're not. According to Rapoport, it's not about money.
Niners reportedly ready to pay Samuel
The first hint of discord between the 26-year-old Samuel and the Niners came April 7 when he unexpectedly scrubbed every mention of the team from his social media. Samuel has never played for an NFL team besides the 49ers, who took him in the second round of the 2019 draft.
Deebo Samuel has removed his #49ers profile picture, unfollowed the team, and has deleted over 80 posts (was at 248, now at 164) from his Instagram account.
Deebo is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Could mean something. Could be trolling. But it happened. pic.twitter.com/0KXDbBw3dU
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) April 7, 2022
With Samuel's rookie contract set to expire after next season, an extension was one of the 49ers' priorities this offseason. And according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, who appeared on "NFL Live" on Tuesday, they were ready to pay him. But Samuel reportedly cut off extension talks. On the broadcast, Schefter reported:
Listen, San Francisco wants to pay Deebo Samuel. But Deebo Samuel was the one who scrubbed the 49ers off his social media page. Deebo Samuel was the one who made it known that he was the one who wanted to move on.
San Francisco would pay Deebo Samuel today, tomorrow, the next day. It’s not hard to figure out what the contract would look like. We’ve seen some of the top numbers in the league.
This right now is Deebo Samuel not wanting to get a deal done. It’s not San Francisco willing to do a deal. Deebo Samuel is the one who put a halt to everything right now.
Wednesday's report about Samuel requesting a trade puts most of these puzzle pieces together. However, there are still a few pieces missing since Samuel's reasons for wanting out still aren't known. Rapoport reported that money isn't the reason he's requested a trade, and that it could be related to his usage. But with several wide receivers signing huge contracts this offseason, money could be at least one of the reasons.