Reason No. 1: 49ers need Deebo Samuel to keep Super Bowl window open
Trey Lance is still a relative unknown. But even if he plays at the same level as Jimmy Garoppolo did last year, San Francisco’s Super Bowl window would remain wide open.
If Deebo Samuel departs, though, that window could easily close.
There’s no one single way to quantify it, but Samuel was arguably responsible alone for three or four of the 49ers’ regular-season wins last season, and they certainly wouldn’t have made it to the NFC Championship game had he been unavailable.
OK, so what if the Niners trade Samuel for a bevy of NFL Draft picks from some inquiring team? Great, right?
Not so fast.
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For starters, draft picks are just that, picks. Not players with a proven track record of high performance, and San Francisco hasn’t always had the best of luck identifying top-level receivers in the draft anyway.
Dante Pettis or Jalen Hurd, anyone?
Simply put, Samuel is a player the 49ers must hold onto at whatever cost, including financial, meaning they shouldn’t even entertain trading him unless they fully accept he won’t come back under any circumstances, is willing to absorb all those fines and whatever return haul is enough for the Niners to assume the risk of trying to find a replacement.