San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch

SANTA CLARA, California – San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch was not in a hurry to question receiver Deebo Samuel in his pre-draft media availability Monday.

Before Lynch opened the nearly 30-minute query session, Lynch spent about 5½ of those minutes thanking his staff for their hard work on the upcoming NFL draft and discussing the draft itself. Inside was a brief mention of Samuel, but only to say that he did not intend to reveal details of the situation.

Eventually the queries came in droves, and although Lynch did not reveal why Samuel has requested a trade, any details of negotiations or how things reached this point, he made it clear that the Niners do not feel very much like swapping the star receiver / running back .

“I can never imagine wanting to move on from Deebo,” Lynch said. “You put yourself through the exercises with the fact that even though we do not have a first-round pick, you have to be thorough in this process and prepare for everything. So you go through it and do it. He’s just too good for a player. We have nothing but love for him and nothing but appreciation for what he has brought, but you just do not let such guys go. So I can not imagine a scenario where we would [trade him]. “

Samuel told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington last week that he had requested a trade, and subsequent reports noted that Samuel has refused to engage Niners about a potential contract extension. Samuel enters the final year of his rookie contract, a deal that comes with a cap of just under $ 5 million for 2022.

Lynch acknowledged the reports that Samuel has requested a deal, but declined to add much else, noting that it is “not productive” to discuss details of contract negotiations. However, Lynch said the team and Samuel have been in contact over the past few weeks and that the Samuel situation has not changed the team’s approach to the NFL draft.

The 49ers do not have a pick in the first round and Lynch said he expects Thursday night to be “a little boring” because of that.

This, of course, does not mean that speculation about a potential Samuel trade will slow down in the run-up to the first round. Asked whether a substantial offer could change Niners’ view of trading with Samuel, Lynch left the door a little open.

“We’ve been consistent since we’ve been here that we would listen to almost everyone,” Lynch said. “It’s something we always want to do. But I can never imagine moving on from Deebo. He’s been such a great player for us. He means so much to this franchise.”

Samuel comes after a dynamic, unique season where he posted 77 receptions in 1,405 yards and six touchdowns left with 365 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground when he coined the term “wide back” for his ability to switch between receiver and traditional running back.

Some reports have indicated that Samuel was not happy with this use because of the extra toll it takes on his body. During and after the season, Samuel offered no such concerns, and the sides appeared to be heading for a long-term deal this offseason ahead of Samuel’s trade request.

Therefore, it has been a bit confusing to see why Samuel is now interested in leaving San Francisco.

“But such is life,” Lynch said. “You have to work through things, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Meanwhile, the 49ers began their offseason training program last week without Samuel. According to players in the building, Samuel’s situation has not been much of a topic of discussion.

“Deebo’s business is his business,” offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “It’s never something the players are going to talk about, other than congratulations after contract negotiations take place … But it’s no secret what Deebo means to our football team. He is one of our best players, if not ours. best player and he deserves all it comes his way, but it’s obviously between the guys and for them to figure it out. “

Linebacker Fred Warner, who was in a similar situation to Samuel last year, eventually became the highest paid (at the time of signing) off-ball linebacker in league history just before training camp opened in July. Warner said it took a lot of patience, but it eventually succeeded.

“We all care about Deebo,” Warner said. “We all understand when it’s the part of the process that the player has to go through it in a way. People who’ve been through it are here to help him if he has questions or anything, but he’s a grown man. “He has to go through that process, and we all have to respect that. That’s the business side of the game … it’s like what his process is right now.”

Another player undergoing that process is defensive Nick Bosa, who is also eligible for a contract extension for the first time. On Monday, the Niners exercised the fifth-year option on Bosa, which does not participate in the early, voluntary portion of the offseason program, but not for contractual reasons.

Lynch reaffirmed that, as with Samuel, an agreement for Bosa is a priority and will come “at the appropriate time.”

Elsewhere, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is still working back from right shoulder surgery and rehabilitation in Los Angeles while the Niners await a trade development.

“We’ve been in touch with his representation and in communication with him,” Lynch said. “I think the progress is good, so he tracks a little bit right where we said, and throws towards the end of June and then ramps up from there. That’s where it is.”

Alex Mack, the team’s 36-year-old center, who has just finished his 13th NFL season, has not yet decided whether he will return to the team or retire. Lynch indicated that Mack will reveal that choice when he makes it.

“We’ve been in discussions with Alex and communicated with him,” Lynch said. “I’m going to say I do not want to talk to Alex about it. I think Alex will comment on that at an appropriate time.”

The 49ers have nine picks in the NFL draft with three on Day 2. An early pick at the center is likely regardless of Mack’s decision, but it could also be an indicator of where it’s headed.

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