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Deebo Samuel wants to play closer to home...unless he doesn’t

When will the truth emerge in this situation?

SiriusXM At Super Bowl LVI - Thursday Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

As the saying goes, the wise man knows he knows nothing, and the fool thinks he knows all. Apparently, we’re all geniuses because it’s become abundantly clear we don’t know a damn thing about what’s happening with Deebo Samuel right now.

NBC’s Chris Simms and ESPN’s Adam Schefter have both reported that the source of the issue with Samuel is not, in fact, money. Simms said Deebo doesn’t want to live in California, and Schefter said Deebo would prefer to play closer to home in South Carolina.

That is neither an uncommon nor an unreasonable request. Like anyone else, athletes have a preference over where they’d like to live and work. If Deebo was tired of working so far away from where he’d like to live, he’s perfectly within his rights to use the tools at his disposal to make that happen.

Then, however, Deebo threw this on his Instagram page:

Samuel has since deleted the post. Was Schefter mistaken? Maybe he got part of the story wrong, and Deebo just wants to be out of California rather than specifically closer to home? If so, however, why delete the post in the first place?

There’s no question there are certain drawbacks to playing in a state with high-income taxes and a real estate market that is completely out of control. Consider that even if Deebo received the same contract offer as Tyreek Hill, he’d walk away with significantly less money because Florida has no state income tax - not to mention factoring the cost of any real estate.

If the location were the only part of the reporting that Deebo was disputing, it would be easier to understand what is going on, but that isn’t the case. Earlier in the week, when Jeff Darlington and others reported that usage was at the heart of his discontent, Deebo again seemed to dispute those reports with a post he subsequently deleted:

The confusing thing about that pushback from Deebo is that Darlington specifically said he spoke to Samuel himself, so it’s hard to see where the message could have gotten misconstrued.

So, what is really going on here? No one can say for sure, but right now, the only thing Deebo hasn’t pushed back against is the fact that he wants to be traded. Considering this all started during contract talks. The simplest explanation still points back to money. Whether it’s guaranteed dollars at signing, average per year, or some combination of the two, it’s hard to believe the disconnect between the two sides doesn’t come down to simple dollars and cents. Or sense, for that matter.

If that’s true, there’s still hope for a potential resolution that doesn’t involve losing one of the team’s best players. If it’s not true and there’s some other reason for his dissatisfaction, Samuel has yet to tell us.