Deebo Samuel’s social-media bio has been erased from his 49ers affiliation for now.
This is not the time to panic with their contract negotiations. Not for the next three months when the camp draws near, or even five months late when the weather turns churning.
Then again, maybe a crisis point is boiling over, and maybe that timeline accelerates to two weeks if it’s seeking a trade before the draft, which all seems illogical.
But recently scouring the 49ers with his Instagram and Twitter handles, Samuel invited heated questions about his fate, so here are the possible answers:
Could they have dared to tackle Dibo?
Two years ago, the 49ers opted for DeForest Buckner as a defensive tackle on his initial All-Pro election, as he was reportedly seeking a top-of-the-market deal.
Samuel made the All-Pro last season as a third-year wide receiver, and he immediately qualified for a new contract before his rookie deal expired in 2023. Wide receivers Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and Stephen Diggs all made deals to set last month. One more time for Samuel, whose versatility as a touchdown-scoring rusher could make him want more.
This 49ers regime is no stranger to an astonishing deal.
Check out the Buckner swap for the 2020 first-round pick, which received his yet-to-be-delivered replacement, Jevon Kinlaw.
Look back a year before that, when they acquired the franchise-tagged D Ford from Kansas City.
Look at last year’s bounty for quarterback Trey Lance, which cost him the No. 3 overall.
Watch Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch’s first draft in 2017, when they dropped a spot to No. 3, thanks to the regrettable selection of Solomon Thomas.
Dealing with an MVP-caliber player in Samuel, however, seems like NFL misconduct for a franchise that has gone deep in two of the last three playoffs, and could have gone further if not for a poor fourth quarter.
Why shouldn’t they trade it?
No one proved to be a greater catalyst for Shanahan’s offense over the years than Samuel, which included tight end George Kittel, left tackle Trent Williams and fullback Kyle Juszcic – each of whom were held a record by the 49ers in their place. The contract was awarded.
Take Samuel away from this offense and, well, they better pray Kittel stays healthy, Brandon Ayuk doesn’t back down at the doghouse and Eliza Mitchell becomes more believable after an injury-prone yet productive rookie season.
Samuel proved last season that he is much more than the 49ers’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Anquan Boldin. He can run for a touchdown. Heck, he might even throw a touchdown. He’ll return the kick, maybe even a punt.
The 49ers seemed to be maximizing their talents last season, when they needed them most on the way to the NFC Championship Game. They will need it more than ever to help them overcome the growing pains that come with infection in the lance. Yes, Samuel staunchly backs Jimmy Garoppolo, but the quarterback switch seems like a non-factor in any Samuel holdout.
Why would they trade him?
The root of the evil of this kind of business-talk must be money. Is he too greedy when trying to capitalize on all-time popularity and productivity?
Now is the time to buck that promotion to a higher pay grade than a non-quarterback asking for the most money. is that true? does it matter? Ask and maybe they will deliver.
Ownership favors Samuel, as evidenced by CEO Jed York happily greeting Samuel in the practice area at the end of the season. Shanahan appreciates Samuel more than anyone and, with the blessing of ownership, holds the ultimate power over his future.
Not that the 49ers are desperate for draft picks to rebuild the franchise. They have nine picks in this month’s draft (April 28-30), although none in the first round this year or next year. The draft is deep in wide receivers, many of whom said in the Scouting alliance they want to be the next Samuel in terms of versatility.
True, Samuel has not been made the captain of the team in his three years. But he played leadership roles both on and off the field last season.
Currently, Samuel is training in the Miami area along with other NFL stars. Back in Southern California, meanwhile, Lance and his presumed backup, Nate Sudfeld, are throwing Ayuk, John Jennings, and Ray-Ray McCloud at Golden State College in Huntington Beach.
so what’s next?
The 49ers’ off-season schedule opens next Tuesday, April 19. It is voluntary. Samuel faces no financial penalty for giving it up, at least not until the mandatory minicamp to the sessions in mid-June.
So, now is the time for opponents to make any wild pitches for them – and for them to take advantage of it for more money.
Their best fit: The New York Jets, who have the choice to trade they need to pair up with 2021 top pick Zach Wilson, and the familiar coaching staff and aggressive planning already imported from the 49ers — all the universe in the media capital of .
In fact, his best fit is on the 49ers, with millions budgeted for reasons in the millions, as general manager John Lynch testified earlier this off-season.
When does that bill come? Well, the 49ers already have two-plus months to hand him a deal, and they’ve got a few more until they hit that financial window, where extensions have been the domestic star of the past two summers, respectively. Kittel and Fred went to Warner.
If someone falls into stalemate camp, a daily fine of $40,000 will pile up—then waived with the 49ers, once a deal is struck.
For now, the mystery mounts, as everyone tries to decipher every nugget from the 49ers and Samuel, whose daily inspirational message read Monday on his Instagram story:
“Sow the seeds of happiness, hope, success and love; All of that will return to you in abundance. This is the law of the nature.”
– Marcus Johnson and Malik Turner have reached one-year deals to add depth to a wide receiver corps that still appear thin.
Johnson, 27, has appeared in 41 games (51 catches, 839 yards, three touchdowns) over the past five seasons with the Eagles, Colts and Titans. Turner, 26, last season with the Cowboys (12 catches, 149 yards, three touchdowns) in Dallas in his second year in the NFL after entering the NFL with the Seahawks in 2018 as an undrafted free agent had played.
Other wide receivers on the 49ers’ roster: Conor Weddington, Keisen Johnson, and Austin Mack.
– Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was released on Monday but is expected to be re-signed immediately in a pay-cap savings move. After playing the last three seasons with the Raiders, Hearst’s injuries last season limited him to two games.