49ers overreactions: Has Deebo Samuel’s contract made him expendable?

If the 49ers are able to win their next two games, it will represent the longest regular-season-concluding win streak in franchise history.

The 49ers’ spot in the playoffs is secure. They most likely will be either the second or third seed in the NFC.

The final two games of the regular season serve the useful purpose of getting the team ready for a possible postseason run.

Still, in the midst of an eight-game win streak, the fanbase can always respond to the call for overreactions.

So, here we go. . .

Deebo is expendable. They’ve won plenty of games without him. I think his contract will end up being the reason they don’t have the funds to sign another needed player. (FB: David M. Tanner)

Overreaction? Yes.

The 49ers have built one of the top rosters in football without going out in free agency and spending a lot of money.

They pulled off vital trades to acquire Trent Williams and Christian McCaffrey. They spent wisely on free-agent cornerback Charvarius Ward.

But that’s about it. Most of their team has been home grown.

And that, of course, includes hard-charging wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Nobody thought Samuel was expendable at the end of last season. He was the driving force behind the team’s run to the NFC Championship Game.

Despite his offseason trade request, the 49ers kept him with a big-money contract extension.

Samuel’s production has fallen off this season. He has missed three games and, certainly, will not play this week against the Las Vegas Raiders, either.

Next year, his contract is not a big deal with an $8.68 million cap charge. But in 2024, the team will likely have to do some maneuvering with its scheduled $26.5 million cap figure.

After that season, the 49ers had an out. The way his contract is currently constructed, the team could move on in 2025 with $15 million of dead money but cap savings of more than $9 million.

The big offseason move for the 49ers will be coming to terms with Nick Bosa on a contract that is likely to make him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

Samuel’s contract will not stand in the way of that contract getting completed.

Can the 49ers win games without Samuel? Of course. They have shown that.

But are the 49ers a better team when he’s on the field? Do we really even need to answer that question?

This is Mike McGlinchey’s last season with the 49ers. (FB: Andrew Sea)

Overreaction? No.

Mike McGlinchey has done his part to contribute to the 49ers’ eight-game winning streak.

He always has been recognized as a strong run-blocker, as he demonstrated with a pancake block on Ray-Ray McCloud’s 71-yard touchdown run against the Washington Commanders.

And he probably is in the best stretch of his career as a pass-blocker, too.

McGlinchey has not allowed a sack in the past seven games, according to Pro Football Focus, with just eight pressures allowed during that stretch.

The one area in which McGlinchey can improve is with penalties. He is worst on the team with 10 penalties this season: six possessions, two ineligible downfields and two false starts.

McGlinchey is scheduled for free agency, and there is a strong chance some team will come calling with a big contract offer.

The 49ers simply cannot re-sign all of their free agents — especially the ones in line for sizable contracts — so it goes to reason that McGlinchey could be one of those players that gets away.

The 49ers seem to be well-situated to replace him with Colton McKivitz the most-likely option to step in at right tackle. Jaylon Moore can serve as a backup.

I’m no longer expecting Purdy’s play to drop off. And neither should anyone else. (FB: Nick Weston)

Overreaction? No.

Brock Purdy had the benefit of low expectations from the outside when he entered the lineup in Week 13 after Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a fractured foot.

As long as the 49ers’ offense did not implode, Purdy was going to impress plenty of folks.

Now that he has shown to be an effective quarterback who has earned the trust of his coaches and teammates, Purdy has also earned greater expectations with his play for the remainder of the season.

The 49ers will let Jimmy G walk in free agency regardless of the outcome of the season. Lance vs Purdy will be an open QB competition in 2023. (FB: Sumeet Arora)

Overreaction? No.

It never was a likely scenario that the 49ers would pay Garoppolo as a starter to re-sign with the team in 2023.

Garoppolo will likely sign with some team as a starter this offseason. The interested teams could include the New York Jets, Washington and the Indianapolis Colts.

On Monday, NBC Sports Bay Area asked Shanahan whether he has thought ahead to Purdy’s future role with the club.

Of course, we did not expect him to make any kind of binding commitment for the 2023 season. But because it’s a question many have wondered, we wanted to see how Shanahan would address that topic.

“It’s a great question,” Shanahan answered, “but, honestly, I don’t look ahead like that. We got a number of big games in front of us.”

We are not sure an actual offseason quarterback competition will be necessary.

Trey Lance and Purdy are completely different quarterbacks, and Shanahan will know what he wants from that position.

Purdy turned 23 on Tuesday. Lance will turn 23 on May 9. At least one of them should be around for a long, long time.

Purdy has put himself into a position to be in the conversation to be the 49ers’ quarterback of the future.

And, right now, the 49ers are in a much better position heading into the postseason because of the weekly argument he is making with his play.

Hufanga is struggling last few games. Far from all pro level from what we saw first half of the season. Jimmie Ward gives us a better chance in the playoffs at FS. (FB: Mario Durann)

Overreaction? No and yes.

Pro Bowl safety Talanoa Hufanga has been a big positive in the 49ers’ defense as a first-year starter, taking over for Jaquiski Tartt.

But does he have a number of elements of his game to clean up? Absolutely.

Hufanga makes a lot of plays in the 49ers’ defensive backfield. But he also gives them up.

The 49ers gave up too much in the passing game to the Commanders last week, and Hufanga was responsible for some of the breakdowns. Those issues must be tightened up in the postseason against better passing attacks.

Still, the 49ers are in a better spot with Hufanga and Jimmie Ward in their current positions.

RELATED: Shanahan not thinking about Purdy’s fate at QB next season

Ward was a very good free safety in the past. He just never made a lot of game-altering plays.

The 49ers get their five best defensive backs on the field when Hufanga starts at safety and Ward enters as the nickel back.

There simply is more playmaking ability with Ward covering the slot receiver, too. In this role, Ward has registered a career-best three interceptions this season.

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