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Gold Diggers: Will Deebo be with the 49ers long term?

Don’t be so sure

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When John Lynch spoke about Deebo Samuel at the Dwight Clark Legacy series on June 2nd, many were relieved after they heard Lynch’s answer. On today’s Gold Diggers podcast, I wondered if maybe we took a victory lap too soon.

Here’s what John Lynch was asked when he was on that stage.

For those that didn’t watch the video, Matt Maiocco specifically asked if Deebo would be a part of the 49ers this season, and Lynch answered that he would. Many people took that to mean that a long-term contract was being worked out, but that may not be the case. Was Deebo’s fate for this season really in doubt? There was no way he was going to sit out for the entire year because if he did, he wouldn’t be a free agent in 2023.

The question's precise wording got me wondering what the 49ers could do in the short team that could get them through this season. Turns out, Tim Kawakami pointed out the perfect solution in April. Instead of a long-term deal, what if the team decided to rework Deebo’s contract and pay him $19-$25 million this season, with a promise not to use the franchise tag on him in 2023? That gets Deebo all-in for 2022, sets Lance up for success in his first year as a starter, and also gives the team an entire season to try and repair the relationship with their star receiver.

However, the fly in the ointment in that scenario is Jimmy Garoppolo. The team would absolutely have to get him off the books in order for something like that to be possible under the salary cap. Both Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have been adamant that they won’t move Garoppolo simply to open up cap space. If a hefty payday truly is the only way to make sure Samuel is full go for this season, would Kyle and John really let a little egg on their face stop them from bringing Deebo back into the fold?

We likely have a long way to go before things get resolved. John Lynch may be confident that Deebo will be around for one more year, but what happens next is anyone’s guess.