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Reports: 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel requests trade; Chiefs in the mix

One of the top receivers in the league has asked out of San Francisco, and Kansas City could be in the mix.

NFL: NFC Wild Card Playoff-San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel has requested a trade, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Darlington at 11:41 a.m. Arrowhead Time.

40 minutes later, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport connected potential interest from the Kansas City Chiefs. He also mentioned the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.

RAPOPORT: “More than a week ago, Deebo Samuel, one of the San Francisco 49ers’ standout weapons, requested a trade. This is something the 49ers have been aware of, and they have wanted to make in-roads on a long-term extension with Deebo Samuel, want to make him one of the higher-paid receivers in the NFL. He has just been — as of now — unwilling to accept or engage in any offer or any discussion, and the reason for that, from my understanding is, he simply wants to be elsewhere. And there are some questions and frustrations from his standpoint about his usage... He’s a top receiver. He also takes a lot of hits, used like a running back, put all over the field, and it just does not sound like he is comfortable right now with the way he is being used. I’m not sure, at this point, the 49ers are going to trade him. We’ll see what they end up doing. They don’t have to. They also don’t pick until late in the second round, so potentially, if they want a first-round pick, this would be a pretty good way to get them.”

Even without Rapoport connecting the Chiefs to potential interest in the 26-year-old wide receiver, the fit seems obvious. This offseason, Kansas City has begun signing bigger-bodied wideouts like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Samuel comes in at 6 feet and 215 pounds. In 2021, he had a breakout season, popping from 417 scrimmage yards in an injury-ridden 2020 season to third in the league with 1,770 scrimmage yards. He also ranked seventh with 14 total touchdowns.

The 49ers drafted Samuel with pick No. 36 in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft — the same one where the Chiefs selected wide receiver Mecole Hardman with the No. 56 overall pick.

This is where Samuel’s gripes become interesting. In the final stretch of 2021, the Chiefs were using Hardman... well... like the 49ers use Samuel. A move to the Chiefs may come with a promise to use him more as a traditional receiver as Hardman leans further in the Samuel-style wide back position.

The timing makes sense, as the league has seen the Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins hand out game-changing contracts to the likes of Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, respectively. The Chiefs would only go so far in paying Hill before reaching a stopping point and would have to come to an agreement with Samuel’s representation presumably.

It is worth mentioning that CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson refuted the idea of the Chiefs having interest.

What could this mean for Samuel?

Hill signed a four-year, $120 million contract with the Dolphins — but that big number is a bit misleading. While $72.2 million was reported as guaranteed, only $52.5 million was guaranteed at signing. His $19.7 million base salary for the 2024 season will only become guaranteed in March of 2023 — and he is unlikely to see a dime of the $43.9 million base salary he is set to earn in 2025.

More to the point, Hill’s Miami deal carries only a $6.5 million cap hit in 2022, as it includes an NFL-minimum base salary of only $1.35 million. Hill’s $25.5 million signing bonus is pro-rated against the four years of the contract, adding just $5.1 million to his cap charge this season.

Would the Chiefs be willing to offer one of their two 2022 first-rounders and then the same “final offer” they had in mind for Hill?

We’ll keep you posted.

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