Deebo Samuel blasted his way into the national spotlight with a monster 2021 season that was the most unique by a wide receiver in NFL history. His stellar season as a wide receiver and rusher would complicate overtime talks as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. A 49ers cleanup of his Instagram page has led to speculation that there is a significant rift between the All-Pro wide receiver and the 49ers.
Publicity of his dissatisfaction with the team led to a debate over whether the 49ers should keep or trade Samuel. Almost everyone has an idea of what San Francisco should do with the catcher who took the NFL by storm last year in his third season as a pro. Member of the Cowboys Hall of Fame Michael Irvin weighed in with Damon and Ratto at 95.7 the Game in San Francisco. He thinks the 49ers need to make sure Samuel stays in their building.
“He sets the tone. He sets the tone for this team,” Irvin said. “You can talk about physical skill sets. We could talk about the quality of your running, the height of your jumps – when you find the guy who sets the tone for your team – you don’t let him go. And that’s what Deebo is doing for the San Francisco 49ers. I guarantee you will be a different football team without him.
Losing Samuel would remove a substantial piece of their attacking puzzle. He had over 1,700 all-purpose yards last year and 14 total touchdowns. Finding players with his skills is nearly impossible, so losing him would mean the 49ers would have to perform differently offensively.
There’s also a meanness and edge he plays with that perfectly matches the ruthless identity San Francisco wants to occupy on offense. However, while the 49ers need Samuel to maximize their offense, Irvin also believes the 49ers are the best place for Samuel.
“I said to him, ‘Get everything you can, man. But I think it would be better if you stayed in San Francisco. To stick with Kyle Shanahan,” Irvin said of his conversation with Samuel during the Super Bowl.
That’s ultimately what the 49ers are hoping for. They’re hoping Samuel thinks he at least needs San Francisco enough to bring his asking price down to something they can afford. If not, the 49ers may be looking for business partners and a different identity on offense.