What's next for Samuel, Jimmy G?
One topic remains at the forefront for 49ers fans: “So Deebo stays, huh?” a fellow Costco shopper asked me as we pushed our carts toward the door Wednesday.
Safe to say, our exit plan worked better than Deebo Samuel's, at least in terms of his trade request that went unanswered at last week's draft.
Yes, Samuel stays, and he really has no alternative if he wants to play football and make money doing it this year.
Samuel hasn't publicly explained his motive or displeasure, and he did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday. “We're not talking to the media like that right now. That's what it is right now,” his agent, Tory Dandy, said when reached by phone.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday he had not talked to Samuel in a couple of weeks. Shanahan and general manager John Lynch speak with guarded tones about Samuel's motives. “I don't think they're insurmountable,” Lynch said Monday on KNBR.
Reading between the lines, a contract extension looks like the root of any discord. Samuel should want more than what A.J. Brown got upon his trade from the Titans to the Eagles (four years, $100 million; $52 million
in guarantees); Brown reportedly sought $80 million in guarantees, and he's also represented by Dandy.
Wednesday night, Samuel re-followed the 49ers on Instagram, where he'd scrubbed all mention of his employer last month. Could it be a precursor to a deal, that maybe he won't have to wait for the 49ers' typical timeline of summertime extensions near training camp? No more leverage means no more bitterness?
Or does he stay away from the 49ers' offseason program that began two weeks ago? Skipping (voluntary) organized team activities from May 23-June 9 is the next anticipated step. Boycotting the mandatory minicamp June 1315 would cost him close to $93,000, then absences at training camp would dock him $40,000 daily, unless he shows but doesn't practice, a la T.J. Watt's “holdin” with the Steelers last summer.
`THE RIGHT SITUATION' >> Lynch claims the 49ers are still getting calls about Jimmy Garoppolo. The true hotline for a trade could be months away, however, as the 49ers survey the NFL landscape for potential quarterback casualties, as callous as that sounds. Any injury could ignite trade talks for Garoppolo, who's rehabilitating his shoulder in Los Angeles before being cleared to throw this summer.
The 49ers' ultimate deadline on Garoppolo's 2022 fate is Week 1, when his $24 million salary becomes
guaranteed. If he restructures his contract and reports for a camp battle with Trey Lance, well, that could make for a fascinating yet unlikely duel.
“We either want Jimmy playing for us, which we're alright with, or we want him to get the value,” Lynch added. “As for inflection points, once he starts throwing, people will feel more comfortable. Now that we've had the draft, teams reevaluate rosters, and throughout the offseason and training camp, injuries can happen.”
Lynch said they'd “find the right situation for everyone” and that it wouldn't be the worst situation for the 49ers or Garoppolo if he returns.
WIRE TAPS >> Audio and video of congratulatory phone calls from the 49ers' draft room is up on their website, and they can be quite insightful.
“You've got the No. 1 trait we were looking for in speed, and your No. 2 trait is toughness,” Shanahan said to wide receiver Danny Gray. “You bring those two things here and good things will happen, alright?”
Cornerback Sam Womack to Shanahan: “I'm excited. You're going to get a dog, coach.” Shanahan's response: “That's what we want, man, to come lock down these wideouts.”
Fellow cornerback Tariq Carlos-Fields to CEO Jed York: “Y'all got a dog, I'm telling you. Thank God for believing in me.” ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT >> How will the 49ers prepare for high-altitude games, with one scheduled for mile-high Denver (5,279 feet) and now another set for Mexico City (7,200 feet) against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 21?
What might be best is
to play those back to back, with a layover in between at Colorado Springs, Colo., where other Mexico-bound teams practiced in 201719. Case in point: the 2017 New England Patriots won at Denver, then practiced in Colorado Springs before beating the Raiders in Mexico.
The full schedule is released next Thursday. Another helpful, back-to-back roadie would be the 49ers' games at the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. How about a layover at Florida's IMG Academy, like in December 2019?
With the Seattle Seahawks playing the Bucs in the NFL's first regularseason game in Germany on Nov. 13, the Los Angeles Rams are the only NFC West team not going international, though the reigning champs do face tough games at Tampa Bay, Green Bay and Kansas City.