49ers G.M. John Lynch had plenty of things to say on Monday about the Deebo Samuel situation. Although Lynch consistently declined to discuss how the relationship had devolved to the point of Deebo making a trade request, Lynch said enough to permit a conclusion that, if the 49ers get an offer they can’t refuse, they won’t.
Here’s the key line from the transcript provided by the team: “We’ve been consistent since we’ve been here in that we listen on just about anyone. That’s something we’ll always do.”
In other words, Deebo isn’t untouchable. Still, it will be hard to touch him. Twice, Lynch said he can’t ever imagine moving on from Deebo. That means it will take the kind of offer Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan can’t imagine, in order to trigger a trade.
“He’s just too good of a player,” Lynch said. “You think of 2019, the 36th pick, to come up with someone like Deebo who, to me, has just been a game-changing player for our franchise. I’ve told Deebo this, I think he’s the perfect illustration. Herm Edwards used to talk about when will meets skill, you’ve got the opportunity to be special. And I think Deebo probably embodies that as much as anyone, he’s got tremendous will, he’s a very talented player. I think by virtue of the way he plays, it’s inspiring and so, to me, that entails leadership. Do you make people around you better? He checks that box. He’s a great teammate. And I think of things like prior to games, I get out there and he’s always throwing the ball with the fans. I think he’s been a great member of our community, so we’ve got nothing but love for him and nothing but appreciation for what he’s bought, but you just don’t let guys like that walk. I can’t envision a scenario where we would.”
But Lynch surely would have said three months ago that he can’t envision a scenario where Samuel would want to no longer be part of the team, to no longer be a member of the community. Although it’s still unknown how that happened, the reality is that the 49ers failed in some way to ensure that they have the right relationship with Samuel. If they hadn’t, he wouldn’t want out.
Lynch said that the 49ers have talked to Samuel. It’s possible that the 49ers at this point hope to get through the draft and hope Deebo will realize that he has no real options, if he wants to play football in 2022.
Still, it’s hard to have much faith in the team’s handling of Samuel going forward, given that their past efforts have resulted in Samuel no longer wanting to be part of the team.