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San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner is confident that teammate and star wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who has requested a trade, will instead stick around and sign a new contract.
“Here’s what I’m going to say about that. I know you’re going to stir it up, Tom … so listen, I know that this team knows its value in Deebo Samuel. I know that Deebo loves the team that he plays for. I know the type of teammate, the type of player he is in that locker room, the amount of love that we have for him, he has for us.
“So, I think it’s just a matter of time before something gets done. I’m here for him, and I know we all care a lot about him over here in this building and ya, that’s all I got to say about it.”
Samuel informed ESPN’s Jeff Darlington of his trade request on April 20 but declined to give reasons.
Jeff Darlington @JeffDarlington
Breaking News: I just spoke to wide receiver Deebo Samuel — and he told me that he has asked the 49ers to trade him.
He did not want to discuss specific reasons behind his request, but he has indeed let the 49ers know his desire to leave the organization. More to come.
The former South Carolina star dominated the NFL with 1,770 total yards and 14 touchdowns for a 49ers team that reached the NFC Championship Game last year.
Samuel, who has played three NFL seasons, is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Samuel is an invaluable part of the 49ers’ offense. He was only one of two players to amass 1,000 or more scrimmage yards for the team alongside running back Elijah Mitchell.
Samuel also became the team’s de-facto second running back, finishing second on the 49ers with 365 rushing yards.
Naturally, the 49ers have no plans to trade Samuel and have said as much.
“You just don’t let guys like that walk,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said on April 25, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “I can’t envision a scenario where we would.”
The good news is that the 49ers have time on their side. Samuel is under contract for a 2022 season that doesn’t start for another four months. They could hypothetically work things out this offseason and keep him in the mix long-term.
The issue is after this season. If he doesn’t sign an extension, Samuel could be a free agent, or the 49ers could place the franchise tag on him.
That might not the best move if Samuel is looking for a move out of town, but the 49ers’ best avenue is to keep the multi-talented superstar as long as possible.
For now, Samuel remains the team’s top offensive weapon and one of the best players in football, and San Francisco will look to build upon a strong 2021 season starting Week 1 against the Chicago Bears.