49ers' John Lynch on Deebo Samuel: 'I Can't Ever Imagine' Wanting to Trade WR

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 2, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch remains optimistic the team can strike an accord with star wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Lynch didn't offer specifics about what's transpiring behind the scenes in a press conference Monday but affirmed the franchise's desire to retain the 2021 All-Pro:

Matt Barrows @mattbarrows

Lynch: "I can't ever imagine wanting to move on from Deebo. ... He's just too good of a player."

Nick Wagoner @nwagoner

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> GM John Lynch on if there are enough picks to trade Deebo Samuel... "We've been consistent since we've been here that we'd listen on just about anyone... but like I said I can't ever imagine moving on from Deebo... I've got nothing but love for the guy."

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> GM John Lynch says at his pre-draft press conference he won’t talk much about Deebo Samuel because those talks should remain private but said he’s “confident we can find the solutions to work through whatever is going on.”

Things were coming to a head with Samuel one way or the other. The 26-year-old is entering the final year of his contract, and he stands to gain a significant pay raise following a monster season in which he had 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns.

After Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were traded this offseason, a divorce between Samuel and the 49ers wouldn't come as a complete shock. His trade request, which he confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Darlington, almost had an air of inevitability. 

More information is coming out about why things have reached this point.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Samuel "simply wants to be elsewhere" and didn't like his role in the offense:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From NFL Now: For more than a week, the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> have been dealing with a major issue in their WRs room, as Deebo Samuel requested a trade. <a href="https://t.co/PDuN2TsjHz">pic.twitter.com/PDuN2TsjHz</a>

That was the thrust of a report from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network as well. Pelissero said Samuel "wants to be a receiver and not a receiver/running back":

Rich Eisen Show @RichEisenShow

Deebo's trade request became public just after we hung up with <a href="https://twitter.com/TomPelissero?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomPelissero</a> in our first hour so we had to call him back to explain what went wrong in San Francisco:<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a> <a href="https://t.co/lveW0WP1fD">pic.twitter.com/lveW0WP1fD</a>

Darlington followed up Monday on SportsCenter and reported the 49ers "have been dealing with Deebo Samuel's unhappiness for the past month or so":

"It's been very clear to them that Deebo wanted out, so they tried to do everything they possibly can to make him happy. He has remained adamant that he wants to be traded. This is a 49ers team that's still reluctant to do that deal. That being said, we're now inside the week of the NFL daft and if Deebo is going to be traded before the start of this season, these are the four days that it is most likely to happen. That is why there's so much urgency on this right now."

Clarifying Samuel's role and pledging to use him as a more traditional wideout should be easy to do for Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.

That leads one to wonder what other factors are at play.

For example, ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio speculated that Samuel, a native of South Carolina, may not be enamored with the idea of playing in California. If that's the case, then the Niners are stuck.

As much as Lynch may not want to move the team's best offensive player, it could be out of the organization's hands.