Kyle Shanahan has concerns going into 2022 training camp, as the San Francisco 49ers work to improve their roster in the hopes of returning to the Super Bowl sooner than later. That said, there are at least two things he seems completely unfettered by — one being the change at franchise quarterback from Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance, and the other being the situation with Deebo Samuel. Samuel, who initially requested a trade that the team did not honor, has since reported to mandatory minicamp and is expected on the field for training camp.
“The days of holding out and stuff are a little bit different now because players, regardless of what the team decides later, always have to pay [the fines] back,” Shanahan said, via The Athletic. “Now, those fines can’t get paid back.”
What Shanahan is referencing are changes to the new collective bargaining agreement that was installed in 2020, making it virtually unpalatable for any player to hold out due to a contract dispute. But this doesn’t mean Shanahan and the 49ers have tabled talks with the first-team All-Pro. Instead, they’ve continued negotiations to this point, and the Niners head coach is confident the deal will land at some point in the near future.
“What I do know is: I’m not worried about it not getting done,” said Shanahan. “I feel very confident that Deebo’s going to be on our team this year, and he’s going to be for many years after. I do believe he’ll get a deal. I know that they’re working on it right now.”
This echoes the sentiment of general manager John Lynch, who made it clear earlier this offseason that he had no plans to trade Samuel.
“He’s too good of a player,” Lynch said of Samuel this offseason, according to a transcription by 49ers Web Zone.. “We’ve got too good of a thing going, and we want to keep that going. That’s where I’ll leave that.”
He then doubled down on what Samuel means to the 49ers offense.
“We’re trying really hard with Deebo to work through whatever the issues might be,” Lynch added. “I always have really believed that there is a sacredness to those conversations and that they remain private, especially with things like this. I think it’s in everyone’s best interest we don’t get into that. I don’t think (the obstacles) are insurmountable.
“I think we can find a way to resolution, and we’re hopeful for that because we know what he’s been to this organization. Thirty-sixth pick in 2019, and he’s been so good on and off the field. Obviously, a tremendous player. … He makes us better. I think we make him better.
“And we’re hopeful that we get everything right and that we’re rolling forward.”
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Samuel earned both his first Pro Bowl nod and All-Pro honor for his efforts in helping to lift the 49ers to the playoffs and, subsequently, victories over the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers — both on the road — before narrowly losing in the NFC Championship to the eventual champion: the Los Angeles Rams.
Utilized as both a WR and a RB, apparently to his chagrin, he racked up 1,770 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns, and while that’s fantastic for Shanahan and the club as a whole, it brings into question both Samuel’s contract (wideouts get paid exponentially more than running backs) and length of his NFL career (wideouts tend to last exponentially longer than running backs).
He did recently refollow the 49ers on social media after unfollowing and wiping his accounts, if you’re one to apply credence to such things, so that is a potential positive in favor of Lynch and Shanahan. That said, he was also seen this offseason during a night out on the town shaking his head “no” to patrons who insisted he’d be back with the 49ers in 2022.
That answer has apparently changed to “yes”, and Shanahan is looking forward to all of this soon being in the rearview mirror — entirely.