The linebacker also faced a contract extension negotiation period that stretched throughout the offseason. Though on the All-Pro defender’s end, he ultimately got a new deal worked out on July 22, 2021 — on the eve of NFL training camp.
Samuel has demanded a trade from the franchise that drafted him three years ago at No. 36. Along with his general manager John Lynch, Warner also faced questions about his disgruntled teammate in front of Bay Area reporters on Monday, April 25.
Warner’s most telling message? “I’m here if he needs me.”
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Warner Speaks on Samuel’s Impact & Value
Warner let it be known to the influx of reporters who bombarded Lynch and the rest of the media availability lineup from the 49ers about Samuel’s future: No one has animosity toward the 2021 Pro Bowler who delivered running and receiving dominance during their run to the NFC title game.
“We all care so much about Deebo, players, coaches and front office,” Warner said on Monday. “Everybody knows his value to the team. I wouldn’t say it’s much of a discussion amongst teammates. We all understand that part of the process. That player has to kind of go through it.”
But, Warner says there is a hand being lend out to Samuel.
“We are here to help,” Warner said. “People who have gone through it are there to help him if he has questions or anything, but he’s a grown man. He has to go through that process and we all have to respect that. That’s the business side of the game.”
How Warner’s Situation Was Different From Samuel’s
For Warner, he and the 49ers had to navigate through their negotiation talks without shaking hands or being inside the same building during most meetings.
Why? The former BYU Cougar, his agent and the 49ers front office had to do almost everything over a computer screen during the era of coronavirus as Warner reflected.
“It’s different for everyone. With me, the offseason was so different because of COVID,” Warner said. “There was a patience part of it and I relied on my agent and the people upstairs to get it done and my main job was to work hard and get ready for the season.”
As Lynch pointed out during the presser, the 49ers GM said “I can’t ever imagine wanting to move on from Deebo.” Also adding “he’s just too good of a player.”
Lynch, who will soon have his sixth draft as a GM, adds that the 49ers pride themselves on having open communication with their players and is confident a solution will come. Warner witnessed this action himself during his negotiation period.
“I think that’s one of the best parts about our team, our organization,” Warner said. “Kyle and John both stress it that they have an open door and want players to make sure if there is any gray area to make sure to talk to us about it. When I was going through the process it was a very open conversation.”
There’s also the added belief that Samuel will remain a 49er, per ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler.