49ers Star Fred Warner Speaks Out About Deebo Samuel’s Situation

Fred Warner, Deebo Samuel, 49ers
NFL Analysis Network

The news of San Francisco 49ers All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel asking the team for a trade is dominating NFL headlines. With just about two days until the 2022 NFL Draft, it is something that will certainly be a topic of discussion in the next 48-72 hours.

Samuel had an incredible 2021 season, turning into a hybrid weapon for Kyle Shanahan, who deployed him more as a running back down the stretch of the season than as a wide receiver. His usage is something that is reportedly part of the reason that he asked for a trade.

He performed at a high level, catching 77 passes for 1,405 yards and five touchdowns. As a running back he was just as dynamic, carrying the ball 59 times for 365 yards and eight more scores.

Rarely, part of a player’s reasoning for asking for a trade is because he wants the ball in his hands less, but it does make some sense from Samuel’s perspective. Running backs have a very short shelf life in the NFL and if he wants to have an extended career, focusing solely on playing wide receiver can help that.

Star linebacker Fred Warner spoke about Samuel’s situation, saying they all care about him and want him to remain with the team. But, they know it is part of the process of being a professional athlete.

“We all care so much about Deebo, players, coaches, and front office,” Warner said, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBCSportsBayArea.com. “Everybody knows his value to the team. I wouldn’t say it’s much of a discussion amongst teammates. We all understand that part of the process. That player has to kind of go through it.”

“But he’s a grown man,” Warner said. “He has to go through that process and we all have to respect that. That’s the business side of the game.”

The business side of the NFL and sports can sometimes get ugly, which players totally understand. The 49ers do not want to trade him, which is understandable as he proved he can be an elite player last season when healthy.

But, the 49ers could be better off trading him now and getting as much value for him as they can. Keeping a discouraged player that no longer wants to be around won’t benefit anyone. At this point, they can likely get some solid draft capital in exchange for him and use a potential first-round draft pick to select Deebo Samuel’s immediate replacement.