‘Can’t imagine moving on from Deebo’

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San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch took a consistent stance Monday afternoon, reiterating multiple times he doesn’t want or plan to trade star wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

John Lynch addresses Deebo Samuel’s trade request

Samuel has formally requested a trade, but that doesn’t mean the 49ers have to comply with his request.

“You just don’t let guys like that walk,” Lynch said. “I can’t envision a scenario where we would. I’m not going to get into the particulars. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to get into the particulars. I can’t imagine wanting to move on from Deebo. He’s just too good of a player.”

One of the most dynamic players in the league, Samuel has communicated to the 49ers that he wants out. A league source not authorized to speak publicly emphasized that it’s not only about money and wanting to be one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the game.

Samuel has serious concerns, per a source, about being used frequently as a running back in Kyle Shanahan’s offense and wonders about his longevity in that role.

‘Game-changing player’

Samuel, 26, is in the prime of his career. He piled up 1,405 receiving yards (fifth in the NFL) and 6 touchdown receptions last season. Samuel is also capable of playing running back. He rushed for 8 touchdowns, the most in a single season for a wide receiver in NFL history.

“He’s been a game-changing player for our franchise,” Lynch said of the former second-round draft pick from South Carolina. “I told Deebo this, he’s when will meets skill. Got tremendous will, very talented player. He’s a great teammate. We’ve got nothing but love for him and appreciation for him.”

Lynch called Samuel an inspirational presence. As for not being on the same page with Samuel, Lynch emphasized that the organization has good relationships with its players.

“We pride ourselves on our communication with our players,” Lynch said. “This is no different. I’m confident we can find the solutions for whatever is going on.”

Multiple times, Lynch expressed a preference to do business privately and not put everything that’s going on behind the scenes in a public area. Of course, that ship has already sailed.

“I don’t think it’s in the best interest of our organization or anyone to be speaking on that,” Lynch said. “I know everyone is curious about Deebo. I’m not going to talk about that much today because I don’t think that’s productive. I think it’s nonproductive for us to be talking about things.”

Decision time

Because of Samuel’s stance heading into the final year of his rookie contract, the 49ers have a decision to make. They can actively shop him and move on, or they can try to reach a financial compromise.

The 49ers don’t have a first-round draft pick, so Samuel could possibly net them significant draft capital. The New York Jets and Green Bay Packers, per league sources, are among the teams potentially interested in a trade for Samuel.

It was predicted by an NFL executive to Pro Football Network before the trade request went public that the Samuel situation was simmering and bore watching. And he was correct.

“Deebo is so crucial to Kyle Shanahan’s offense because he can do so many things,” the executive said. “I can’t see them trading him, but I could see that situation being a problem. It’s all about compromises.”

An NFC West player said that Samuel has kept his discontent to himself until now but added it’s not shocking that he is unhappy given the rise in the receiver pay around the league.

Market forces

An All-Pro selection, Samuel has a ton of value as a wide receiver who doubles as a running back. Would he be willing to take $25 million annually? Would the 49ers be willing to pay that number? Probably. Or is this situation too far gone to be resolved?

Samuel is seeking a new contract along with fellow 2019 rookie class wide receivers A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, and DK Metcalf.

The reason why they all want new deals is the explosion of the wide receiver market after Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams got blockbuster contracts this offseason. Hill is now making a league-high $30 million annually, while Adams sits at $28.5 million per year.

Whether the 49ers move on from Samuel is undetermined. Lynch’s willingness to talk in detail about what’s going on is firm.

“I don’t want to talk about that much because I don’t think it’s productive,” Lynch said. “There’s a sanctity to those conversations remaining private.”

Lynch added he’s proud of the 49ers’ track record in rewarding deserving players.

“It’s not about words,” he said. “I’m proud of our actions over time.”



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