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NFL - US Sports: Samuel seeks 49ers trade

Deebo Samuel's concerns over the sustainability of playing the hybrid wide-back role is understood to be behind his decision to make a trade request to the San Francisco 49ers last week.

The Niners were in talks over a long-term contract extension with Samuel, 12/1 to become Offensive Player of the Year in 2022/23, when the player reportedly made his position clear.

Resolution being sought

The 26-year-old is skipping the team's on-fields drills during voluntary offseason workouts taking place this week while the situation is dealt with amid interest in him from the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

All of those teams have the financial flexibility to accommodate Samuel with the Lions and Jets possessing enough draft capital this year to satisfy the 49ers' demands in any prospective trade.

There's an easy fix for San Francisco too - turn Samuel from an explosive hybrid weapon back to an orthodox wide receiver - but that could already have been sorted out around the negotiating table.

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Wednesday, Samuel's trade request was submitted more than a week ago and wasn't a surprise, as team management were aware of the star's feelings.

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New role not for Deebo

In a major role modification that increases the serious injury risk to the player, head coach Kyle Shanahan deployed Samuel as both a receiver and a versatile backfield weapon in 2021 to great effect.

The third-year pro gained the most scrimmage yards in a single season in his career, finishing with 1,770 yards and 14 total touchdowns.

Early in the 2021 campaign, Samuel was deployed more as a pure receiver as he broke Jerry Rice's franchise record for the most receiving yards gained in the first seven games of a season with 44 catches for 819 yards and four touchdowns from Weeks 1-8.

But Shanahan and offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, seeking a competitive edge, increased Samuel's involvement out of the backfield from Weeks 10-18.

He averaged 6.6 carries per game and gained 42.9 rushing yards per contest during that span while scoring seven rushing touchdowns.

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