Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


Pelissero: ‘Scales are tipping’ toward Deebo Samuel playing for 49ers in 2022

Jun 14, 2022 at 10:36 AM--



In April, things got to the point where no one was certain whether or not Deebo Samuel would return to the San Francisco 49ers. The star wide receiver had requested a trade. Then, leading into the draft, there was a lot of chatter surrounding other teams being interested. And why not? In 2021, Samuel was one of the most exciting and dynamic players in the league, and he helped the 49ers reach the NFC title game for the second time in three years.

The 49ers never received an offer that came close to being worth considering. It would have taken a lot for head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to part with Samuel. He is too valuable to the team, especially considering second-year quarterback Trey Lance is expected to be the Week 1 starter in 2022. Taking away a young quarterback's best offensive weapon isn't a recipe for success.

The draft passed, and Samuel remained on the roster, dramatically increasing the odds that he will play for the 49ers in 2022. Samuel even reported for the 49ers' mandatory minicamp last week. He didn't practice, but he was there with his teammates, having fun, and looked very much a part of the roster.

"The fact that Deebo Samuel showed up to mandatory minicamp, even though he was working on the side, not on the field, was significant," Tom Pelissero said Tuesday on Good Morning Football. "That means something because it at least means that Deebo Samuel is open-minded about the possibility of returning to San Francisco because, remember, this was driven by Deebo. He made a trade request in early April. The 49ers were willing to work toward a long-term contract. Deebo said, 'Don't bother. I don't want to be here.'

"A couple of months later, facing the prospects of fines, facing also the reality that you've got a team that doesn't want to let him go, and much like some of the other players were talking about, he's under contract this year. You can tag him. You can tag him again. You can turn this into a multi-year fight if you want to."

Pelissero notes that two other players—kicker Robbie Gould and running back Raheem Mostert—requested trades during the Shanahan and Lynch era. Both ended up returning to the 49ers.

"Deebo's in an entirely different stratosphere as a player and in terms of the contract, but as of now, it certainly appears, especially since you're after the draft, you can't get picks this year to help you, that the scales are tipping toward Deebo being more likely to be in San Francisco at least for 2022."

Speaking with reporters last week, Shanahan shared that he doesn't believe the relationship with Samuel has soured to the point where a resolution is unreachable.

"I think it's always been alright," Shanahan said of the relationship. "I mean, I know we go through the business part of this league and things like that, but I don't think the relationship was ever too far away to not get it back to normal. And I think we're working on that. ... I love our relationship with Deebo. Hopefully, that will help us be able to solve this contractually before we get to the season."

49ers players will return to Santa Clara at the end of July when they report to training camp.
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