San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan expressed surprise and disappointment at star wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s standing trade request.
Kyle Shanahan surprised by Deebo Samuel’s trade request
Shanahan added that no prospective trade offer from NFL teams has tempted them to move on from Samuel at this point.
“I was real surprised, we were surprised,” Shanahan said during a press conference. “But also, once it does happen, you know this business, so it can’t surprise you too much. But yeah, we were disappointed a little bit, but it’s part of this business. You’ll consider anything. You have a responsibility to help your organization the most you can.
“But losing a player like Deebo, it’s hard to see how that helps your organization. So you try to look into all the aspects of it and what people are willing to do. and nothing was even remotely close to what we thought would be fair for us or fair for the Niners.”
Where is the disconnect?
One of the most dynamic players in the league, Samuel has communicated to the 49ers that he wants out. A league source not authorized to speak publicly emphasized that it’s not only about money and wanting to be one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the game.
Samuel has serious concerns, per a source, about being used frequently as a running back in Kyle Shanahan’s offense and wonders about his longevity in that role. Samuel, 26, is in the prime of his career. He piled up 1,405 receiving yards (fifth in the NFL) and 6 touchdown receptions last season. He also rushed for 8 touchdowns, the most in a single season for a wide receiver in NFL history.
Shanahan declined to specify what issues are at the heart of the dispute.
“There’s lots of things that play into it,” Shanahan said. “I would love to share it all with everybody so people could understand more, but that’s really not right to Deebo, it’s not right to the 49ers. Hopefully, we can work this out, and someday it’ll clear up for you guys.”
No recent conversations held
It has been weeks since Shanahan has talked with Samuel. Nonetheless, he expressed hope that the 49ers could find common ground with him at some point.
“We have a great relationship with Deebo,” Shanahan said. “I haven’t seen him a lot since the season ended. I try not to get too caught up in it. You know somebody, they know you. And when there comes a time when it settles down. Hopefully, it’ll settle down more after this draft and things get somewhat easier. But this isn’t someone that we just met.
“We’ve been with him for three years. I think we know him pretty well. He knows us pretty well. And things haven’t been the best over the last couple of months through outside perception.
“But I see that happen a lot in this league, especially in contract situations. So, you try not to overreact one way or the other on it. You try to be patient with it because emotions can get high with people, especially when you care about people and a lot is riding on it. You try to get a win-win for both sides.”
John Lynch addressed Samuel’s trade request
Before the NFL Draft, 49ers general manager John Lynch addressed Samuel’s trade request and made it clear that he has no desire to trade the former second-round draft pick from South Carolina.
“You just don’t let guys like that walk,” Lynch said. “I can’t envision a scenario where we would. I’m not going to get into the particulars. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to get into the particulars. I can’t imagine wanting to move on from Deebo. He’s just too good of a player.
“He’s been a game-changing player for our franchise. I told Deebo this, he’s when will meets skill. Got tremendous will, very talented player. He’s a great teammate. We’ve got nothing but love for him and appreciation for him.”
Lynch called Samuel an inspirational presence. As for not being on the same page with Samuel, Lynch emphasized that the organization has good relationships with its players.
“We pride ourselves on our communication with our players,” Lynch said. “This is no different. I’m confident we can find the solutions for whatever is going on.”
Multiple times, Lynch expressed a preference to do business privately and not put everything that’s going on behind the scenes in a public area. Of course, that ship has already sailed.
“I don’t think it’s in the best interest of our organization or anyone to be speaking on that,” Lynch said. “I know everyone is curious about Deebo. I’m not going to talk about that much today because I don’t think that’s productive. I think it’s nonproductive for us to be talking about things.”
It was predicted by an NFL executive to Pro Football Network before the trade request went public that the Samuel situation was simmering and bore watching. And he was correct.
“Deebo is so crucial to Kyle Shanahan’s offense because he can do so many things,” the executive said. “I can’t see them trading him, but I could see that situation being a problem. It’s all about compromises.”
An NFC West player said that Samuel has kept his discontent to himself until now but added it’s not shocking that he is unhappy given the rise in the receiver pay around the league.
Market forces at play
An All-Pro selection, Samuel has a ton of value as a wide receiver who doubles as a running back. Would he be willing to take $25 million annually? Would the 49ers be willing to pay that number? Probably. Or is this situation too far gone to be resolved?
Samuel is seeking a new contract along with fellow 2019 rookie class wide receivers Terry McLaurin and DK Metcalf. A.J. Brown, represented by CAA’s Tory Dandy, the same agent who represents Samuel, was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles during the draft and received a $100 million contract with $57 million guaranteed.
The reason why they all want new deals is the explosion of the wide receiver market after Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams got blockbuster contracts this offseason. Hill is now making a league-high $30 million annually, while Adams sits at $28.5 million per year.
Whether the 49ers move on from Samuel is undetermined. Lynch’s willingness to talk in detail about what’s going on is firm.
“I don’t want to talk about that much because I don’t think it’s productive,” Lynch said. “There’s a sanctity to those conversations remaining private.”
Lynch added he’s proud of the 49ers’ track record in rewarding deserving players.
“It’s not about words,” he said. “I’m proud of our actions over time.”