Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Breer weighs in on Trey Lance doubts, Deebo Samuel situation with 49ers

May 9, 2022 at 4:02 PM--

There have been two major San Francisco 49ers storylines this offseason. The first was the quarterback situation and the transition from Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance. Then, that was overshadowed by the Deebo Samuel drama that culminated in the wide receiver requesting a trade—and then being denied.

On Monday, Albert Breer of MMQB joined The Rich Eisen Show and shared what he had heard about both storylines, starting with Samuel and the 49ers' strong desire to mend the broken relationship.

"The messaging coming out of there is how badly [the 49ers] want him back and how important he is to their team," Breer told Eisen.

Samuel was an essential factor in the team's success last season, amassing 1,770 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns for the offense. Then an offseason explosion at the top of the wide receiver salary market complicated things.

However, Breer notes that the situation isn't just about money. There are other contributing factors to why a rift between team and player has emerged. Obviously, money is a factor. Breer just doesn't believe it to be the main factor. Instead, he points to Samuel's role on offense as a dual-threat weapon possibly being a contributing factor and the impact such a role has on a player's NFL longevity.

"I can tell you the Niners are working hard to get through that," Breer continued. "They would like to re-sign him and keep him there and have him as part of an offense with Trey Lance as the starting quarterback, presumably, this year.

"I think, right now, it's an unpredictable situation because it's one of these where you can't just throw money at the problem and think that it's going to be fixed."

As for Lance, some in the media have questioned his readiness to start. Is the team truly prepared to lean heavily on the second-year quarterback? The team's desire to trade Garoppolo would indicate they are. Of course, Garoppolo remains on the roster, which likely contributes to the skepticism.

Garoppolo remaining, as awkward as it might seem, is not necessarily the 49ers' fault. General manager John Lynch recently admitted that trade talks were progressing. Unfortunately, they stalled when the veteran quarterback opted to undergo shoulder surgery on March 8, plummeting his trade value.

"The more I sniffed around over the last three or four months, my belief is that they feel confident that they can put Trey Lance out there, and he can start," Breer explained. "Can he run Kyle Shanahan's offense—the full breadth of Kyle Shanahan's offense? That's the question. And then, it's how much—if he can't run the whole thing—how much do they have to adjust?

"And remember, Kyle went through that with Robert Griffin III all those years ago in Washington when they basically imported the Baylor offense, and he won Rookie of the Year. So it's not like Kyle can't do that.

"So I think there's going to be that kind of push and pull in building an offense. And that's why I think it's important to gain clarity through this spring because you might be building an offense that looks a little different to make it work for Trey Lance so he can grow through it, and grow through the process that every young quarterback goes through, so eventually, he can get back to running that sort of offense."

Breer adds that the 49ers were "blown away" by Lance's progress following last year's break between the offseason program and training camp. It led to some thought that maybe there should be a quarterback competition between Lance and Garoppolo.

"Now, he wound up leveling off, and he had some issues in the first time he played," Breer said. "... Then, towards the end of the year, he started to ascend again. And he played relatively well when he got a start there at the end of the year.

"So there were a lot of ups and downs last year, and I think part of this is sort of figuring out how much they're going to have to adjust what they do offensively to make it work for Trey Lance and playing in 2022. And of course, what that will wind up meaning for guys like Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle within the offense."

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