Here’s what fans of the San Francisco 49ers already know: Deebo Samuel is a no-show for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) which began on Monday, May 23. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport said that was “no surprise” given Samuel’s current contract situation.
But there’s another telling update from the veteran NFL insider that involves the 2021 Pro Bowler, which he shared on the Pat McAfee Show on Sirius XM radio.
ALL the latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!
What Rapoport Said
McAfee fired off the hard-nosed questions: Are they (Deebo and the 49ers) on good terms? Are they going to figure that out? McAfee also brought up the conversation he had with George Kittle on Friday that intertwines with Samuel’s current state of affairs with the ‘Niners.
Rapoport gave his direct response.
“I would say I think they can get it settled,” Rapoport told McAfee, which prompted a “boom” response from McAfee’s studio room.
However, Rapoport indicates that there’s still some areas needing to be addressed on S.F.’s end.
“I don’t believe it is settled right now. And there’s a lot of work that has to be done,” Rapoport continued. “When a player asks for a trade, basically says he does not want to be there, and it has nothing to do with the contract because remember, he basically told them, ‘Don’t offer me a contract. I’m not going to take it. I want to be traded’– there is some work that has to get done.”
Samuel’s Situation ‘More to do Than Just Contract’ per Rapoport
Rapoport believes that Samuel’s situation doesn’t necessarily point to just the money aspect. But rather, how head coach Kyle Shanahan has plugged Samuel. The insider also pointed out how Shanahan has done his part in elevating Samuel’s play and popularity in the league.
“Kyle Shanahan is very charismatic and also very good at making sure football players are good at their jobs. He’s a great play designer. He has helped Deebo Samuel become the dynamic weapon he has been,” Rapoport said. “So I think they can get it worked out, but they are not there yet, and it has more to do than just contract.”
Rapoport also brought up this scenario that plays into Samuel’s future role within the 49ers: The decision to draft Tyrion Davis-Price out of LSU in day two of the NFL Draft — who also got selected higher than last season’s rookie picks Trey Sermon (third round) and last year’s leading rusher Elijah Mitchell (sixth).
“I think the fact that the 49ers drafted a running back in the mid-rounds was actually valuable and important because then he (Samuel) doesn’t have to be used as a running back as much as maybe he was last year,” Rapoport shared. “That is probably an important part of this, along with others things like the contract and whatever else.”
Rapoport was then asked by McAfee: “He wouldn’t mind being a running back if they would pay him for it as well, right”
“I don’t think so,” Rapoport responded. “I think it’s more career longevity. And running backs, it hurts, you get injured all the time, you have short careers. You’ve seen the contracts of running backs. It’s different. As a receiver, those guys are getting paid like nothing we’ve ever seen, and you can play into your 30s as a receiver.”