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John Lynch: Deebo Samuel Will Be with 49ers This Season amid Trade, Contract Rumors

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2022

San Francisco 49ers' Deebo Samuel during the first half of the NFC Championship NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch confirmed Wednesday he expects wide receiver Deebo Samuel to remain with the team for the 2022 NFL season.

Lynch was asked about Samuel's status at a Dwight Clark Legacy Series event and received an ovation from the crowd after saying he'd be a "fool" to trade the 2021 Pro Bowl selection:

49ers on NBCS @NBCS49ers

.<a href="https://twitter.com/MaioccoNBCS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MaioccoNBCS</a> asks John Lynch if Deebo will be on the team this season πŸ‘€β¬‡οΈ <a href="https://t.co/vv1lr1QKmE">pic.twitter.com/vv1lr1QKmE</a>

In April, Samuel confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Darlington that he'd requested a trade from the 49ers, but he declined to discuss the specific reasons behind that decision.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network subsequently reported there were "multiple layers" to the situation, but one of the most important was the playmaker's desire to play wide receiver more exclusively rather than a hybrid receiver-running back role.

Samuel made 77 catches for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns last season, but he also recorded 365 yards and eight scores on 59 rushing attempts.

His contract is likely a factor in the situation, as well.

The 26-year-old University of South Carolina product is scheduled to make $3.99 million in 2022, which ranks tied for 46th among wideouts, per Spotrac. It's the final year of his rookie contract.

While his receiving numbers warrant a significant raise from that number, the difficulty from San Francisco's perspective is deciding what fair value is if Samuel no longer wants to play a key role in its rushing attack.

Clearly the Niners are prepared to dig in their heels to avoid trading one of their most valuable players, and they have the franchise tag in their back pocket if an agreement on an extension isn't reached by next offseason.

So Samuel, who didn't attend the start of voluntary organized team activities, will have to decide whether he's willing to embark on an extended holdout to force a trade.

Signing a lucrative long-term extension is the other option, but so far there's no suggestion a new deal is close. In May, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported the idea of an extension hadn't been "addressed in a meaningful way" this offseason.

It creates a situation where the stare-down could continue into training camp and potentially beyond.