“I can’t ever imagine wanting to move on from Deebo … He’s just too good of a player,” general manager John Lynch said on Monday before eventually adding, “You just don’t let guys like that walk, so I can’t envision a scenario where we would.”

While that adequately expresses the San Francisco 49ers’ desire to hold onto Deebo Samuel, it hardly comes off as a certainty that the team won’t eventually be pushed to trade its dynamic wide receiver. They could be blown away by an offer from another organization. Or things could get so ugly that trading Samuel becomes the only recourse.

Thursday represents a key date in the Deebo Samuel saga. His stock has never been higher. If the 49ers trade the receiver, it will likely be before or during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. If he remains on the roster after that, San Francisco probably will not grant Samuel’s desire to be traded.

“The people I’ve talked to this morning think there’s a real good chance that he does get traded,” analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on Monday. “If you asked me two days ago, I would have said, ‘No.’ … I’m just talking to a million people right now. It’s that time of the year when my phone doesn’t stop. It changed over the last two days from ‘I don’t think the 49ers would ever do it’ to ‘Yeah, I think there’s a good chance they trade him.'”

That matches what Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network has been hearing. He even specifies one AFC team that is ready to blow away the Niners with an offer.

“There have been rumors tonight, that I cannot confirm, that the Niners have told Deebo Samuel that he can seek a trade,” Pauline told Trey Wingo on Tuesday (h/t TheSFNiners). “I don’t know about that, but I know this: The feeling inside the league is the Niners are listening to offers for Deebo Samuel, and the Jets are going to put together such a massive package for Deebo Samuel that the Niners are not Everyone says that Kyle Shanahan would like to keep Deebo Samuel, but again, the feeling is what the Jets will offer—as they said in The Godfather—the Jets are going to make the Niners an offer they can’t refuse.

“That is the word in league circles tonight. League executives feel the No. 10 pick will eventually go to the San Francisco 49ers, and Deebo Samuel will be a New York Jet. Whether it happens before the draft or whether it happens on draft night , whether it really happens at all, that is the feeling right now.”