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Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

49ers WR Deebo Samuel safe from being traded...for now

Marc Adams
Apr 28, 2024 at 12:30 PM

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Rumors were swirling leading up to the NFL Draft, and even throughout the first round. Would the San Francisco 49ers trade away one of their star wide receivers, Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk? I never felt like they would trade either of them. Not because I have any inside information, but because it never made sense. When you've come so close to winning a Super Bowl, shouldn't you bring everyone back and give it another shot?

The week leading up to the draft was interesting. The reports from Mike Silver alone kept things interesting. Earlier in the week, the San Francisco Chronicle columnist reported that Samuel had been assured he wasn't being traded. Later, Silver changed his tune, suggesting Samuel very well could be moved. Then after the 49ers drafted Florida WR Ricky Pearsall, Silver shifted again, reporting that Samuel was more likely to be traded than Aiyuk, then later saying things were quiet on the Samuel trade front. The fanbase didn't know what to believe.

To be fair, Silver wasn't making things up. He was simply passing on what he was being told. And as we all know, draft season is the season of lying.

Even though GM John Lynch said the 49ers didn't entertain trading Samuel or Aiyuk, you still have to wonder if there was any truth to those rumors and reports. Where there's smoke, there's fire—usually.

At this point, it appears that Samuel will stay with the 49ers for the 2024 season. Aiyuk will likely be extended, or play in the final year of his contract. Either way, the 49ers should have their top two wide receivers for the 2024 season. But what about 2025?

It's been widely reported that the 49ers may have to make some painful cuts next March to be under the salary cap. One reason is that the team will finally be free to give QB Brock Purdy a new contract. And if Purdy plays anything like he has so far, as a rookie in 2022, and in his first season as QB1 in 2023, he will be paid more than any player on the team. The kind of cap hit the 49ers will take with Purdy's new contract is the kind that forces a team to trade or release players they don't want to let go of.

But while Samuel may be safe from being traded in 2024, he may not be safe from being traded in 2025. Some speculated that the drafting of Pearsall signals the team's willingness to move on from Samuel next year. However, I think the salary cap is a stronger signal of it.

The 49ers also drafted Arizona WR Jacob Cowing in the fourth round, further adding to speculation that the team is preparing to move on from one of their receivers next season. And while the additions of Pearsall and Cowing could signal the end of the road for Danny Gray in 2024, it could also signal the end for Samuel in 2025.

Rest easy, 49ers fans. Samuel is safe from being traded...for now.
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