Deebo Samuel's trade request puts 49ers in difficult position

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49ers have no easy answer for Deebo's trade request originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

For a while, we’ve been left to figure out what it all means.

Now, we know. Deebo Samuel, the most important offensive player on the 49ers, no longer wants to be with the 49ers. He has requested a trade, he told Jeff Darlington of ESPN on Wednesday.

Some of the top wide receivers in the NFL cashed in this offseason, as Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams were traded to the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders, respectively, and were rewarded with lucrative, market-setting contracts.

The Buffalo Bills rewarded Stefon Diggs with a big contract extension.

The 49ers seemed confident they would be able to get a deal done with Samuel because the parameters had been set. He was budgeted for a deal somewhere in the $22 million to $24 million annual range.

But before the sides even entered into serious negotiations, something happened that derailed the 49ers’ plan.

Samuel expressed his discontent with his decision to scrub his social media accounts of all references that connect him to the 49ers.

Now, it is worth keeping an eye on what happens around next week’s draft.

The 49ers do not currently have a first-round draft pick, so Thursday was supposed to be a day of little happenings around Santa Clara.

That could change in a hurry.

Now, there is intrigue. Do the 49ers hold tight and figure that they can just ride this out and everything can eventually be OK? Or do they grant Samuel his wish and shop him around the league?

Is there a team willing to acquire him for a first-round draft pick and sign him to the kind of big-money deal he envisions?

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Samuel's discontent is seemingly coming out of nowhere after three seasons with the 49ers, the team that coached him in the Senior Bowl and selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Samuel and coach Kyle Shanahan have always enjoyed a strong bond. The two men met regularly during the season to discuss the upcoming game plans and talk about life, in general.

On the field, Samuel was the heart and soul of the 49ers. He would demand the ball in crucial times, such as a key moment in the team’s playoff opener at Dallas when he scored a game-changing touchdown.

Samuel always did what the 49ers asked him. He was a top-flight wide receiver who morphed into a running back when the team needed him.

And when he was used in that demanding role, the 49ers thrived.

Of course, filling that role demanded a lot from him.

Did it also place a strain on his relationship? He never seemed to question how he was used. He did what was asked.

Now, he has a request of his own.

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