Jeff Darlington: Deebo Samuel not budging in standoff with 49ers

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

This week, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington broke the news that wide receiver Deebo Samuel had asked the San Francisco 49ers to trade him. The announcement came after a lot of silence from both sides on the situation. It’s worth noting that it is only April, so no one expected a lot of openness about an ongoing contract negotiation.

Samuel has now made his stance clear, though. Obstacles are preventing him from signing a contract extension. Whether that be the money, his role, or the team’s location, Samuel clearly wants out. He wants to play elsewhere and has reportedly halted all contact talks.

Meanwhile, the 49ers desperately want to hold onto their do-everyone wide receiver, who accounted for 1,770 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns this past season.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the team’s location might be a factor in the stalemate, stating that Samuel doesn’t want to be in California and might prefer playing closer to home. However, Samuel took to social media to shoot down that theory.

On Thursday, Darlington joined The Rich Eisen Show to discuss his phone call with Samuel. Understandably, he did n’t want to speculate too much on Samuel’s reasoning of him, avoiding putting words in the receiver’s mouth.

“First of all, this is something that had been sort of percolating behind the scenes for several weeks at this point,” Darlington told Rich Eisen. “The team had already been sort of aware that this was coming. It was basically to the point where Deebo, I think, just really wanted people, at this point, after washing his social media of any reference to the 49ers, taking it a step further and making it clear that he does in fact want to be traded.”

Darlington noted that Samuel didn’t want to discuss the reasoning behind his decision. The writer believes the receiver is frustrated by the current narrative, though, as everyone attempts to speculate on where things went wrong.

Darlington speculates himself, saying he doesn’t get the impression that Samuel is unhappy with his role on the team—playing both wide receiver and running back.

“I, at this point, just know that the 49ers really want Deebo on their team,” Darlington said. “They really recognize his value from him to their organization from him, what he brings to the table. They’re trying, and have been trying to do what it takes to keep him.

“I don’t get the sense that Deebo is going about this with animosity, but I do get the sense that he very much has his feet in the ground on this. I personally don’t see him bugging. To your point, if some of those factors are things that the 49ers cannot rectify or remedy, that’s a difficult task to overcome.”

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