San Francisco 49ers star wide receiver Deebo Samuel has reported to training camp this week, per Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, amid extension negotiations with the team.
"We've had productive and substantive talks..." general manager John Lynch told reporters Tuesday. "We're excited about moving forward with him as part of this team."
Lynch added: "We're not there yet... something is gonna happen here in the near future."
It remains to be seen if Samuel will also practice or if he was simply reporting to training camp. But optimism is clearly high in San Francisco that a deal can be reached.
"The days of holding out and stuff are a little bit different now because players, regardless of what the team decides later, always have to pay [the fines] back," head coach Kyle Shanahan told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on The TK Show podcast Monday (h/t Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk). "Now, those fines can't get paid back [because of the new CBA]."
"What I do know is: I'm not worried about it not getting done," he added. "I feel very confident that Deebo's going to be on our team this year, and he's going to be for many years after. I do believe he'll get a deal. I know that they're working on it right now."
Samuel, 26, has emerged as one of the most dynamic offensive playmakers in football, catching 77 passes for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns last season while adding 365 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground.
Having Samuel available will be huge for second-year quarterback Trey Lance, who the team has officially turned to as its starter.
While Samuel's impact out of the backfield is likely to lessen—the 49ers were bested by injuries at the position last season and used Samuel to help cover for those injuries, a role Samuel reportedly doesn't want to continue given the additional physical toll it takes on his body—he's still the team's most dangerous offensive weapon.
Wrapping up a contract extension before the season would address one of the final looming questions surrounding the team as the Niners look to compete for a Super Bowl this year.