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Gold Standard: The gamble the 49ers could be taking with Deebo Samuel

What if they let Shanahan be Shanahan?

With just hours to go before the NFL Draft, we still have no idea whether Deebo Samuel is going to get traded. In today’s Gold Standard podcast, Levin Black and I wondered if the 49ers might be taking a strategic risk regarding their disgruntled wide receiver.

Just as I sat down to write this, Ian Rapoport tweeted out the following update on Deebo Samuel:

There are a lot of steps that need to be taken in a very short amount of time if a deal for Deebo is going to get done tonight. Instead of trying to rush through all of that, it’s possible the 49ers look at it another way.

What if the team decided they weren’t going to bother with all of that? Even if they aren’t totally sure why exactly Deebo Samuel wants out, maybe they’ve decided to bet on Kyle’s relationship with Deebo. Throughout the Lynch and Shanahan tenure, they’ve prided themselves on their open communication with players. Multiple players on the team have talked about how Kyle and John keep it real with them at all times. Even Jimmy Garoppolo has made sure to mention the transparency with which this front office acts, and he might have the biggest ax to grind against them out of anyone.

Like Howard Stark once said, “No amount of money ever bought a second of time.” I could see Kyle Shanahan thinking, “I can fix this. If we don’t trade Deebo, I have months to talk with him and figure this thing out. If he comes in the building to avoid a holdout, I can eventually get things back to where they need to be.”

There is always the possibility that Deebo stands his ground and refuses to even engage with Kyle Shanahan, of course, but if that happens, the team can always trade him somewhere down the line. At least then, they’ve given themselves as much time as possible to salvage their relationship with their best offensive skill player instead of trying to mend fences and negotiate a blockbuster deal inside of a month.

Would it hurt to lose the opportunity to use the picks they would have acquired this year? Sure, but maybe the 49ers think the cost of missing out on those picks is not greater than the value of the opportunity to mend fences with Deebo over the rest of the offseason.

In the meantime, ShanaLynch will set the price to trade Samuel this season astronomically high because it has to meet the value of that extra time to mend fences. If that price is ultimately met, the team will have a decision to make, but it remains to be seen if that will actually happen.

Knowing Kyle Shanahan, if you told him he could either trade Deebo Samuel or bet on his own ability to communicate with players, which do you think he’d choose?