George Kittle isn’t professing to know anything about the Deebo Samuel situation with the San Francisco 49ers.
But even in acknowledging that lack of insight, he does have one idea of how he might have approached the situation differently.
Things are awkward right now between the Niners and their star wide receiver. He asked for a trade this offseason, which the team has been publicly resistant to granting, unsurprisingly. A free agent after the upcoming campaign, Samuel apparently told them basically to not bother offering him a contract.
But Samuel did report to mandatory minicamp, and the 49ers reportedly are amenable to scaling back the number of carries he gets. Whether that’s enough to get him to commit to the team long-term remains to be seen. But during an appearance on the “Bussin’ with the Boys” podcast, Samuel’s teammate, Kittle, says he would have offered the wideout a contract last season.
“Hindsight is 20-20, right? And I know nothing, I haven’t talked to John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan or Deebo about it, I have not,” Kittle said. “I don’t know anything. All I know is that in hindsight, I would’ve paid Deebo three-quarters of the way through the season, try to do a contract in-season, for sure. Probably would’ve been cheaper. Christian Kirk really set the market off. …
“What’s gonna happen, and this is me not knowing anything, Deebo’s got another year on his contract left regardless, right? Assuming he’s not going to sit out, that’s a lot of money, so he’s either going to play this year as a Niner with one year left on his deal or he’s going to get a contract extension. At this point you can’t even trade him. What are you going to do, trade him for a first-round pick in next year’s draft? That doesn't help us this year. Like c’mon, you can’t trade for future picks, not right now, so that window is kind of closed.
“Something crazy could happen, I could be eating my words in two weeks, but the Niners have done every major contract – mine, Fred Warner’s -- the week before the season started. So, my guess is in three weeks we’ll hear news of it, but I have no idea.”
Of course, if Samuel already had his heart set on leaving the 49ers via trade or free agency, any contract offer from San Francisco in-season likely would have been useless.
However, it doesn’t quite feel as though the door is slammed shut on Samuel sticking around. But until there’s some sort of clear resolution, Kittle, like the rest of us, will just be speculating.