After coming up short against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, the San Francisco 49ers are already looking towards a repeat performance in 2020. The team will be retaining a great majority of its core, as well as the bulk of its coaching staff, and experts already have the 49ers behind only the Baltimore Ravens as favorites to win it all in 2020.
While most of the lineup will stay intact, there are a few key free agents San Francisco has to make decisions on, the primary of which is veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Second-year wideout Deebo Samuel took to Twitter Wednesday to share his thoughts about the possible return of Sanders, while also sharing a very specific — and lofty — goal for the future.
Deebo Samuel on Emmanuel Sanders: ‘I Know it Ain’t My Call, But’ …
In his rookie season with the Niners, Samuel evolved into the 49ers’ top receiving target behind All-Pro tight end George Kittle. When the 49ers traded 2020 third and fourth-round picks to the Broncos in exchange for Sanders and a fifth-round pick in late October, his impact was immediate.
Sanders provided a knowledgeable and motivational presence, and he had three touchdowns and 502 yards in his nine games with the team. Samuel, one of the league’s most exciting rookies, bonded immediately with Sanders. Thus, with talk surrounding Sanders possibly signing with other teams this offseason, Samuel decided to throw his opinion into the Twittersphere.
“I know it ain’t my call,” Samuel began, before upping the ante: “But I want my bruddah @ESanders_10 back on the squad so he can get him another Super Bowl ring.”
Sanders will be 33 years old in March, and other than surgery on a ruptured Achilles in December of 2018, he hasn’t had a serious injury over the last several seasons.
His 2020 contract situation may be where potential conflicts enter. The 49ers have just over $13 million in cap space per Spotrac, and Sanders’ current projected market value is around $10 million. If Sanders wants to take a little less money and stay in San Francisco, he’ll likely stay. But his current price tag may make that very difficult.
Still, Sanders may feel his best chance for the ring Samuel referenced could be in San Francisco. For his part, Sanders responded to Samuel, calling the young wideout “My brotha 4L,” while retweeting him.
The interest the rest of the league has in Sanders will also be a factor, but that will remain a mystery until free agency kicks off in mid-March.