Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft ended with the San Francisco 49ers selecting a wide receiver with the No. 105 overall pick. It could have been a grim reminder of the ongoing dilemma between the team and Deebo Samuel.
A week after reports of the 49ers’ trade request for Samuel surfaced, head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about the matter for the first time after the conclusion of the third-round draft on Friday. Although the 49ers have made it clear they don’t want to part ways with Samuel, Shanahan told reporters they haven’t yet seen a trade offer worth considering.
“He will consider anything. He has a responsibility to help his organization as much as he can,” Shanahan said. “But losing a player like Deebo, it’s hard to see how that helps your organization. So you try to look at all the aspects and what people are willing to do, and nothing came even remotely close to what we thought would be fair. “. for us or just for the Niners.”
Shanahan said he was “shocked” by Samuel’s demand, but also hinted at the business realities of the league. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported on Day 1 of the draft that the New York Jets offered the 10th overall pick and a pick trade for Samuel, but the trade never materialized.
The 49ers selected SMU wide receiver Danny Gray with their second third-round pick of the day. Gray led SMU with 49 receptions for 803 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021 and posted the seventh-fastest time of 40 at the Scouting Combine with a 4.33-second rush. Without a first-round pick in the 2022 draft, San Francisco also added USC defensive end Drake Jackson and LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price in rounds 2 and 3, respectively.
Samuel’s trade demand followed a breakout season that saw him become one of the most unique offensive weapons in the NFL. In his first All-Pro season, Samuel had 77 receptions for 1,405 yards (league-leading 18.2 receiving yards) and six touchdowns while adding 365 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and eight more rushing touchdowns. Samuel’s extraordinary play propelled the 49ers into the postseason, and was a major catalyst for the team’s second NFC Championship Game appearance in three seasons.
“We’ve been with him for three years,” Shanahan said of the 26-year-old. “I think we know him pretty well. He knows us pretty well. And things haven’t been the best the last few months through outside perception. But I see that happening a lot in this league, especially in contract situations. So that, you try not to overreact one way or another. You try to be patient with that because emotions can run high with people, especially when you care about people and the stakes are high. But that’s what you have to make sure that he doesn’t react. And he needs to make sure that when it’s all said and done, first of all, he does what’s right for the organization. And then, second, he tries to get a win-win for both sides.”
With the situation still fluid, Shanahan didn’t go into detail about why Samuel requested a trade. Replacing a talent as unique as Samuel is highly unlikely to happen on Day 3 of the draft, but Shanahan made it clear Friday that the 49ers will do what’s best for the team one way or another.
“There are a lot of things that go into it,” Shanahan said. “I’d love to share it all with everyone so people can understand more, but that’s really not right for Deebo, it’s not right for the 49ers. Hopefully, we can figure this out and one day it will clear up for you guys.”