However, Shanahan couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stay silent forever.
The sixth-year head coach met with the media on Friday, April 29, and finally discussed the ongoing drama surrounding his star receiver. Although Samuel requested a trade earlier this month, the 49ers did not deal the South Carolina product before the draft began or during the event’s first two nights.
Although Shanahan said he hasn’t spoken with Samuel in a “couple” of weeks, he’s optimistic that things will work out before the season starts.
“You try to be patient with it because emotions can get high with people, especially when you care about people and a lot is riding on it. But that’s what you’ve got to make sure you don’t react to. And you’ve got to make sure that when it’s all said and done, first and foremost, you do what’s right for the organization. And then, second of all, you try to get a win-win for both sides.”Kyle Shanahan
As of publication, the 49ers still had not moved Samuel.
Shanahan, who has led the 49ers to playoff appearances in two of the last three years, admitted the team evaluated various trade scenarios but didn’t find anything worth agreeing on.
“You have a responsibility to help your organization the most you can,” Shanahan said. “But losing a player like Deebo, it’s hard to see how that helps your organization.”
Samuel, who turned 26 in January, broke out for 77 catches, 1,405 yards, and six touchdowns last season. The 6-foot, 215-pound weapon also rushed for 365 yards and eight touchdowns en route to earning first-team All-Pro honors. His versatility and habit for explosive plays quickly made him a fan favorite for football fans and fantasy football managers alike.
Samuel, a first-time Pro Bowl selection, added 291 yards from scrimmage (154 receiving, 137 rushing) and two touchdowns in three playoff games earlier this year.
“We’ve been with him for three years,” Shanahan said. “I think we know him pretty well. He knows us pretty well. And things haven’t been the best over the last couple of months through outside perception. But I see that happen a lot in this league, especially in contract situations. So, you try not to overreact one way or the other on it.”
San Francisco selected LSU running back Ty Davis-Price and SMU receiver Danny Gray in the third round. Both will likely have opportunities to immediately play a role in the 49ers’ offense, especially if Samuel chooses to hold out or outright sit out the 2022 season if he isn’t traded; as of publication, the 26-year-old had not indicated he plans to do either.