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Oh, Hey There! Is there anything the 49ers can do to fix things with Deebo Samuel?

Money probably would help

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John Lynch did his best to address the Deebo Samuel situation yesterday without actually saying much about the Deebo Samuel situation. On today’s Oh, Hey There! podcast, Leo Luna wondered if Lynch missed an opportunity to mend fences with his superstar wide receiver, both through words and actions.

“When John said, ‘I don’t think it benefits anybody to talk about the situation,’ I don’t think that’s true. I think it would have benefitted Deebo Samuel if John Lynch was just straight up about the situation that they have yet to give him an official offer ...If you came out with something whack [during discussions], just own it. It seems like a lot of that is frustrating Deebo Samuel. I think it would have been beneficial for John Lynch to be straight up.

I feel like Deebo Samuel’s the type of dude to gain respect for him that way. Like, ‘Damn, this team just put themselves on blast. For me. They put themselves on blast. They owned up to it.’ You gain a little more respect that way. When you mess up in a relationship, and you beat around the bush and don’t want to admit your fault, does your partner gain more respect for you? Are they all of a sudden not going to be mad at you anymore? No, they’re still going to be pissed off because you beat around the bush and you didn’t own your mistake.”

It has been reported that Deebo didn’t have an offer from the 49ers and told the team not to bother with one because he wanted to be traded, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t make one. Actions speak louder than words, and an offer at a much larger number than the two sides originally discussed could have gone a long way towards repairing the relationship. It’s one thing for hypothetical numbers to be thrown around. It’s another thing altogether when all someone has to do is sign a piece of paper in front of them to secure tens of millions of dollars.

Part of the reason that reportedly hasn’t happened yet could be because of what Tim Kawakami wrote in The Athletic:

“The 49ers can’t say that a trade is impossible because the 49ers, I’m told, have essentially decided that they’re not meeting Deebo’s contractual terms, at least not right now; the 49ers have anticipated Deebo’s unhappiness for some time. This isn’t some major revelation for Lynch and Shanahan. Oh sure, the public trade request in April probably wasn’t quite in the 49ers’ calculations. But my understanding is that the 49ers and Deebo both haven’t loved the tenor of the talks so far.

For context, I believe the disagreement is about guaranteed money. Deebo likely wants a guarantee that equals three or more years at top receiver salary — something close to the $72.2 million in guarantees that Tyreek Hill just got after his trade to Miami. The 49ers likely want to limit that to a guarantee equaling two years at the same rate — $45 million or so.”

One wonders how much the 49ers planned to use Deebo at running back if they were so worried about the wear and tear on his body that they would only guarantee two years of his new contract. Are they really so set on using him that way that they were willing to risk losing him completely?

Negotiations don’t have to go this way. Teams don’t always have to start with a contract offer so low the agent for one of their best players calls it the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. They don’t have to try and “win” every deal to the point where a player has to make a personal appeal to Kyle Shanahan in order to get a market-value contract.

The 49ers are choosing to act this way. While things may have turned out okay with George Kittle and Trent Williams, it could also cost them the only All-Pro wide receiver they’ve had since Terrell Owens in 2002.