The San Francisco 49ers probably won’t see their top receiver on the field in Week 1
When it comes to the NFL offseason, the San Francisco 49ers had one of the strongest in the entire league. They managed to sign defensive end Arik Armstead and tight end George Kittle to long-term contract extensions and traded for former Washington Football Team left tackle Trent Williams to replace the retired Joe Staley.
If there was one negative of the offseason, it was the discovery that top wide receiver Deebo Samuel suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot during a throwing session with teammates in Nashville, Tenn. back in June.
With Samuel sidelined for 12-16 weeks at the time of the injury, head coach Kyle Shanahan told the media on Saturday that he’s “hopeful” the second-year receiver can be ready for their Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, but he’s “not counting on it.”
“Deebo’s going to do anything he can to be in shape, but it’s hard to be in football shape until you can play football,” said Shanahan, via NBC Sports . “So how many practices can we get him in here before Arizona? That’s going to all go into play, so I’m hoping for Week 1. But not sure yet.”
Too soon to tell if Samuel will be cleared for the regular season opener
The 49ers are going to have to play the waiting game with their breakout star from last season. Considering he’s the future of the offense, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 49ers take a cautious approach and have him sit out until he’s 100% cleared to play.
Last season, Samuel caught 57-of-81 passes from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for 802 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 159 yards and three scores on 14 carries.
If Samuel is officially out for Week 1, the expectation is that first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk will be the team’s No. 1 receiver. Samuel shined during his senior year at Arizona State, where he recorded 65 receptions for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns. The team signed speedy receivers Tavon Austin and J.J. Nelson this week to fill in the spots left on the depth chart by Samuel and Richie James, whom the team placed on the NFI list as he recovers from a broken wrist.
Samuel will suit up for the 49ers this season, but don’t expect it to be as early as Week 1.