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Darlington on Deebo: Just know that the 49ers really want Deebo on their team

The reporter who spoke with Samuel shares what he thinks is going on

Event Name: NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

It’s been a hectic couple of days for those of us following the 49ers since star-wideout Deebo Samuel requested a trade. First, it was ESPN’s Jeff Darlington to broke the news. When Darlington did, he went out of his way to say he was not going to speculate on Deebo’s reasoning for the request.

Since then, the national media has done nothing but throw out their thoughts as to why Samuel wants out. We’ve heard everything from Deebo doesn’t like his usage to his wanting to be closer to home in South Carolina. Nobody knows outside of his agent, the team, and himself, so we’ve seen Samuel post and delete numerous times on social media over the last 48 hours.

Darlington joined The Rich Eisen Show Thursday to share what he thinks Samuel’s story is, without speculating too much, of course:

“First of all, this is something that had been sort of percolating behind the scenes for several weeks at this point. 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.”

As Darlington speculates, the takeaway here is that Samuel has been unhappy for much longer than a few days. You have to wonder if the longer this goes on, for all we know, it’s been a month now, the more likely it is that Samuel wants out of San Francisco.

Darlington continued, where he shot down the notion that Samuel is going about this in an immature way, which some fans have said, and how the Niners understand Samuel’s value to the team:

“I, at this point, just know that the 49ers really want Deebo on their team. They really recognize his value to their organization, 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 budging. To your point, if some of those factors are things that the 49ers cannot rectify or remedy, that’s a difficult task to overcome.”

I find it funny how some in the local media and other fans have already turned on Deebo, citing his drops, which is a meaningless stat that never comes with context:

Yes, Deebo had more drops than expected. Yes, he single-handedly won multiple games for a stagnant offense and often would struggle to move the ball despite having above-average talent.

It’s true that Kyle Shanahan made life easy on Samuel by getting him in space or a “head start” on crossing routes. But you can’t ignore the plays where Samuel broke multiple tackles on a play or would outrun everyone for a 60-yard gain.

The 49ers don’t make the playoffs without Deebo bailing them out and playing running back. That is not a hot take.

Darlington doesn’t say anything new that we didn’t already know. And to the 49ers' point, they don’t have to trade or extend Deebo this offseason if they don’t want to. They’ll have an unhappy camper, but Deebo runs the risk of losing a lot of money if he holds out. The Niners hold all the keys and could even franchise tag him next season, then try to move him.

Of course, you don’t want to see the relationship sour to the point of no return—also, Trey Lance. Taking Deebo away from this offense would make life even more challenging for a quarterback starting in his first full season.