The weekend has seen multiple examples of social-media contentions regarding 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel‘s intention to leave the team. Some of the claims have yet to be verified, including a supposed text-message exchange with Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, who if the back-and-forth is legitimate signs all of his text messages with “#prez.”
A video making the rounds shows the inside of a crowded night club. A large sign being carried through the club declares, “Deebo is staying #49ers.” The camera then pivots to Samuel, who smiles and passes his fingers under his chin, sending a clear message that he disagrees with the message on the sign.
Wherever it goes from here, it’s amazing it’s come to this. While we still don’t know the precise reason(s) for Samuel’s trade request, the fact that it’s gotten to this point counts as a failure, at some level, by the team. Unless the sole reason is he doesn’t want to be in San Francisco, the 49ers could have said or done something to keep the relationship from disintegrating to this point. And even if it’s as simple as Deebo not wanting to live and work in California and nothing more, his decision to disclose his desire to seek a trade suggests that there’s a level of animosity that shouldn’t exist between an NFL team and such an important player.
It’s still unknown what the 49ers are doing in an effort defuse the situation, if anything. It’s unknown whether they will trade him. The fact that multiple other receivers have gotten what they wanted in recent years (starting with Stefon Diggs tweeting his way out of Minnesota and continuing with the recent trades of Devante Adams and Tyreek Hill) creates a natural expectation that other players will get when they want, when they want it.
That’s the question that needs to be answered. Will the 49ers take an old-school, play-for-us-or-play-for-no-one approach to Samuel, or will they accommodate his request? Some sort of clarity necessarily is coming this week.