John Lynch Says Deebo Samuel Will Be with 49ers for 2022 Season Despite Trade RumorsMay 3, 2022
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said Monday he expects Deebo Samuel to remain with the team for the 2022 NFL season despite the wide receiver's trade request.
"It's a yes for me, and that's our job," Lynch said on KNBR when asked if Samuel will stay on the Niners' roster (via David Bonilla of 49ers Webzone). "He's too good of a player. We've got too good of a thing going and we want to keep that going. That's where I'll leave that."
Lynch added he believes any lingering issues between the sides can be ironed out to make sure the 2021 Pro Bowl selection sticks in San Francisco:
"We're trying really hard with Deebo to work through whatever the issues might be. I always have really believed that there is a sacredness to those conversations and that they remain private, especially with things like this. I think it's in everyone's best interest we don't get into that. I don't think [the obstacles] are insurmountable. I think we can find a way to resolution, and we're hopeful for that because we know what he's been to this organization. Thirty-sixth pick in 2019, and he's been so good on and off the field. Obviously, a tremendous player. ... He makes us better. I think we make him better. And we're hopeful that we get everything right and that we're rolling forward."
Samuel confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Darlington last month he'd asked the 49ers for a trade but declined to discuss the specifics behind the decision.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported the 2019 second-round pick is unhappy with his role.
Samuel was a top-tier receiver in 2021 with 77 catches for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. The Niners also asked him to play an important role in their rushing attack with 59 carries for 365 yards and eight scores. That's a heavy workload and one that leads him to take a lot of hits.
With the running back market trending away from lucrative long-term extensions after a player finishes his rookie deal, San Francisco's dual-threat playmaker appears wary of taking on too much rushing responsibility that could shorten the peak of his career.
Yet it may be tough for the Niners to stop running those plays given their effectiveness. Samuel averaged 6.2 yards per carry in 2021, which would have ranked behind only the Seattle Seahawks' Rashaad Penny and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (6.3 YPC each) if he had enough attempts to qualify.
So the discussions Lynch is having with Samuel's representatives behind the scenes are likely heavily focused on the level of the receiver's all-around involvement in 2022.
It would be difficult for the team's front office to get fair-market value in a trade because the acquiring team is also going to factor in Samuel's need for a contract extension since he's entering the final season of his rookie deal.
Put together his unique impact on the offense and the uncertainty about what he'd bring in a trade, and it's no surprise the 49ers have so far been resistant to the idea of a trade.
Samuel's main path to creating leverage would be a prolonged holdout that could even stretch into the regular season, but so far he hasn't said whether that's an option.