When San Francisco 49ers star wide receiver Deebo Samuel shocked the National Football League last week by asking to be traded, the football community wondered if general manager John Lynch would give in and jettison him.
So far, it has appeared that the 49ers haven’t budged, despite all sorts of rumors of other teams having a genuine interest in Samuel.
On Monday, Lynch came out and said that he “can’t envision a scenario” in which his team would trade Samuel while also praising the All-Pro First-Team wideout.
"You just don't let guys like that walk, so I can't envision a scenario where we would."
-John Lynch on Deebo Samuel pic.twitter.com/TTmBsM3FAB
— KNBR (@KNBR) April 25, 2022
Should 49ers fans take Lynch at his word, or is this simply standard public denial from yet another NFL executive?
It Could Be Posturing
Throughout the NFL, as well as in the NBA for that matter, there is a history of teams denying that they’re going to trade a player they end up trading soon afterward.
The conventional wisdom is that admitting that a player is available on the market weakens a team’s posture and leads to it receiving weaker offers for said player.
Some could criticize the 49ers’ front office for certain things, but Lynch has shown a history of not necessarily giving in to trade demands.
Not too long ago, kick Robbie Gould asked to be traded, but Lynch held firm, and a couple of years later, Gould is still wearing red and gold.
The 49ers’ Preference Seems Clear
Whether Samuel has indeed reached the point of no return or could be open to a reconciliation, one thing is obvious: San Francisco would rather work things out than lose him.
After all, why rush things when he still has a year remaining on his contract?
No surprises from John Lynch press conference. 49ers don’t want to trade Deebo Samuel. They know they have ultimate leverage since he’s under contract for 2022. The 49ers remain in their “king’s ransom” stance — without fielding one, sounds like they’re willing to ride this out
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) April 25, 2022
He was the team’s biggest weapon this past season, amassing 1,405 receiving yards, 365 rushing yards and 14 total touchdowns.
Some have speculated that he wants out of the Bay because he doesn’t like being used as a running back, and some have also wondered if head coach Kyle Shanahan has used him in the backfield partly due to starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s weaknesses as a long-range passer.
If the team moves on to Trey Lance this season, perhaps Shanahan will pivot away from lining Samuel up as a tailback, especially considering the punishment he takes when masquerading at that position.
One Roster Move Could Help Free Up The Salary Cap Space Needed To Pay Samuel
There have been many rumors that the 49ers would trade Garoppolo this spring and hand the keys over to Lance.
But it hasn’t happened yet, leading to some wondering if the team may simply release him.
Doing so would clear up plenty of salary cap space, which it could then use to pay Samuel the $20-$30 million a year or so that it could take to keep him in the Bay.
Keep in mind that Nick Bosa, the Niners’ star pass rusher, is also due for a contract extension not too long from now.
They are at an inflection point where they can either move closer toward contending for the Super Bowl for the next 5-10 years or regress to being a team that exits early in the playoffs each season.