San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch addressed Deebo Samuel's uncertain future with the team during a mandatory pre-draft press conference on Monday, and explained to reporters that he "can't ever imagine" wanting to part ways with the All-Pro receiver. Lynch's comments came less than a week after Samuel informed ESPN that he's requested a trade, for reasons he's yet to explain. Speculation ranges from his on-field usage to contract disputes.
The drama between Samuel and San Francisco has been brewing. Earlier this month, he scrubbed all team-related pictures and content from his Instagram, and also unfollowed the 49ers' page. In the following days, the public learned of his decision to skip voluntary workouts, which happened to start last week. With Samuel and the 49ers at an impasse in extension talks, it's unclear when he'll play in 2022. But the issue isn't bothering quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
"That dude's different, man -- he's so unique in what he can do, on the field," Garoppolo told The DA Show on Tuesday. "I've known Deebo since he was a rookie. And I've seen him grow, make the leader that he's become. He's really been a tone-setter for our whole team -- in practice, in the game, wherever it is. That dude sets the tone, and lets the other team know what type of game it's going to be. It's only a matter of time until he gets his whole thing figured out. But that'll take care of itself."
Samuel, who was drafted 36th overall by the 49ers back in 2019, is coming off an incredible breakthrough season. In 16 games, the dynamic wideout racked up 1,405 yards with six touchdowns and an NFL-high 18.2 yards per reception. He also showcased his talent as a backfield threat, rushing for 365 yards with eight scores -- a league single-season record for a receiver. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Samuel's total cap hit for 2022 is just $4.8 million.
As for Garoppolo -- who battled injuries to his throwing thumb and shoulder in 2021 -- his role with the 49ers this upcoming season hasn't been determined. In five seasons as their starter, the 30-year-old veteran has compiled a 31–14 record and racked up 11,162 passing yards with 66 touchdowns, 38 picks, and a 98.3 passer rating. Garoppolo also helped San Francisco (10-7) earn an NFC playoff spot in 2021, and reach the conference championship. He underwent shoulder surgery in March and believes he'll be ready for training camp.
"Shoulder's feeling good. It's been a very productive offseason. Getting a lot done, we're moving in the right direction," Garoppolo said. "I wish I could say [I'm 100-percent now]. But we're working toward it. I think we'll have a better idea, down the road. We'll get into summertime and start throwing, things like that. But, right now, we're just trying to get back to the basics. Get this thing feeling right and get all the swelling out of there."
The entire 49ers conversation between Garoppolo and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.