Star receiver Samuel is asking the 49ers to swap him

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SANTA CLARA, California – In the last few months, the San Francisco 49ers have repeatedly said they want to keep wide receiver Deebo Samuel for a long time. On Wednesday, it became clear that Samuel and the Niners do not quite see things the same way.

Samuel, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington that he has asked the 49ers to swap him. Samuel declined to give specific reasons for requesting the deal, but acknowledged that he has informed the team of his desire to leave.

It comes in the heels of what has become an increasingly turbulent relationship between the two sides after Samuel’s breakout 2021 season. In recent weeks, Samuel has scrubbed every mention of the 49ers from his Instagram account, stopped following the team and removed most of the photos of him in the team uniform from the platform.

When the Niners opened their offseason conditioning program on Tuesday, Samuel did not attend, and sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he was not expected to participate in any on-field work during the volunteer part of the offseason program.

Samuel’s trade request comes at a time when wages for wide receivers have skyrocketed. The Las Vegas Raiders gave Davante Adams $ 28.5 million per season on an extension after trading for him, and the Miami Dolphins rewarded Tyreek Hill with an average contract of $ 30 million per season a week later after acquiring him from the Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs also received a lucrative contract extension recently.

Despite all this, San Francisco general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have on every occasion this offseason said they intend to keep Samuel with the team well into the future. At the NFL owners’ meetings in late March, both sounded optimistic that deals for Samuel and defensive end Nick Bosa would be on the way.

“Like I’re been saying for a long time, those guys want to be a part of us for a long, long time,” Lynch said. “They are amazing players. They are very much the core of who we are and they are amazing players, amazing people and a big part of who we are.”

Shanahan said he was not involved in the negotiations, but was also convinced that Samuel remains a fundamental player for the franchise.

“But we have to find out,” Shanahan said. “These are guys who have earned a lot, two guys that I hope are niners forever, or at least as long as I’m here.”

After the 49ers lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, Samuel was asked to stay with the Niners long-term on a new contract.

“That’s not my call,” Samuel said then. “It’s out of my hands.”

But Samuel now seems to be taking matters into his own hands. The 49ers have been open to making a deal with Samuel, but those talks have not gone anywhere. Meanwhile, there are other wideouts that are also still queuing up for big money deals.

In fact, Samuel’s agent Tory Dandy, who also represents Tennessee’s AJ Brown and Seattle’s DK Metcalf, are two of the other wideouts set on pay days. Washington’s Terry McLaurin is another wideout ready for a big deal.

However, Samuel may be the most unique player in that group. He achieved All-Pro honors last season after leading the league with 18.2 yards per carry. catch and 6.2 yards per. carry, while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns. His 1,770 yards from scrimmage finished third in the league. He also rushed for eight touchdowns – an NFL singles season record for a receiver – and became the first receiver since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to lead his team in quick touchdowns.

In the process, Samuel, 26, coined the term “wide back” because of his ability to play receiver and running back. That versatility has value, but also made some wonder if he should be valued as a true wideout, or if his time as a running back should be taken into account.

Should the 49ers comply with Samuel’s trade request, he would not be short of suitors, and the Niners would seek a return equal to what the Packers got for Adams or the Chiefs got for Hill. The 49ers do not have a first-round pick in next week’s NFL draft after trading it as part of a package to move up quarterback Trey Lance last year.

Aside from Samuel, the Niners’ current receiving squad consists of Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, Malik Turner and Marcus Johnson. Only Aiyuk and Jennings played for the Niners in 2021.

In three seasons with the Niners, Samuel has 167 receptions for 2,598 yards and 10 touchdowns with 550 rushing yards and 11 goals on the ground. He has played in 38 games, missing one game in 2019 and 2021 and nine in 2020 due to various injuries.

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