The news that Deebo Samuel wants a trade sent Twitter into meltdown Wednesday, but it might yet be good news for the San Francisco 49ers when it comes to their odds of winning a Super Bowl any time soon.
Samuel, per widespread media reports, is not happy at the way Kyle Shanahan used him in 2021, when he became a dual threat as a running back in addition to his day job as a wide receiver.
That could of course be code for Samuel not liking the numbers when his team first mooted a contract extension with San Fran, but we’ll likely never know.
Lance, not Deebo, is 49ers key
For now Deebo wants out of the Bay Area, and while some Niners fans might be concerned, there is a counter view, one which could make it a positive thing in the long-term.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has built an offense which means there is no requirement for an elite QB – heck they’ve been winning with Jimmy Garoppolo up to now. But imagine if they did have one? If Trey Lance does turn out to be what they imagined, SF is a top-5 team overnight.
If Shanahan has taught us one thing, it is that he doesn’t allow other teams to just stop one thing, or allow one thing to become all-consuming. At one time the offense revolved around TE George Kitttle, now it’s Deebo. Who is to say that couldn’t be somebody else from 2022 on?
There are two scenarios here, and you won’t be surprised to find we like the second one:
- Deebo stays a 49er, he gets the biggest contract in NFL history for a WR, but it does stop the team loading up at other positions.
- The 49ers give Deebo his trade, acquire a ton of new draft capital and also retool their offense at a significantly lower cost. They get younger, and not necessarily worse.
It’s clear that whether the Niners are able to win a Super Bowl in 2022 (they are currently +1600 odds or bet $100 to win $1600) will depend on whether Year 2 Lance is indeed the real deal at QB. Even if Samuel continues to perform at 2021 levels, SF will fall in the playoffs without that elite passer.
Why San Fran should trade Samuel
So why not trade away Deebo, let somebody else pay him, and use the extra cap space and draft capital to build a stronger all-round roster. Including a new WR1 through the draft to use in genius Shanahan ways.
We’re not saying we don’t love Deebo – absolutely the opposite. But paying him top dollar right now would go totally against the way Shanahan has built this offense. The scheme is king, not any one player.