The San Francisco 49ers signed superstar wide receiver Deebo Samuel to a three-year contract extension worth $71.55 million with a max value up to $73.5 million on Sunday evening, per Adam Schefter. The contract contains $58.1 million in guarantees. Samuel will earn approximately $23.850 million annually, which makes him one of the 10 highest-paid receivers in the league.
Samuel’s extension arrives just days after Seattle Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf signed an extremely similar three-year extension worth $72 million. The Samuel contract represents a win-win for all parties involved and brings a ceremonial close to a tumultuous offseason between Samuel and the 49ers.
Samuel previously requested a trade earlier this spring due to a contract dispute and disagreements regarding his overall usage in San Francisco’s offense. 49ers general manager John Lynch consistently signaled his intention to smooth things over with Samuel and reach an agreement on a lucrative extension with his representation. The 49ers remained steadfast in their refusal to honor Samuel’s trade request throughout the process and have now officially won the standoff. It’s a resume-building victory for Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
The 36th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Samuel was scheduled to enter the fourth and final year of his four-year rookie contract. Samuel was set to earn approximately $3.986 million in 2022, per Spotrac, and was understandably displeased with that figure given the breakout season he experienced in 2021. Samuel has now received a much-deserved payday. It’s worth noting Samuel’s extension was added onto the remaining year of his original rookie contract, which means San Francisco controls his fate for the next four seasons (and then there’s always the franchise tag).
For Samuel, sticking in San Francisco’s offensive scheme represented the ideal outcome. Shanahan possesses a brilliant offensive mind and has a full understanding of how to maximize Samuel’s skill set. Samuel totaled a career-high 1,845 all-purpose yards while leading the league with an average of 18.2 yards per catch. Samuel also scored 14 touchdowns (six receiving, eight rushing) while playing a unique dual-threat role. Samuel is unlikely to play in the backfield going forward as much as he did in 2021, but he should remain one of the league’s most effective weapons all the same.
Samuel’s continued presence will benefit second-year quarterback Trey Lance. The 49ers are handing the reins to Lance in 2022, who served as the backup for Jimmy Garoppolo throughout his rookie campaign. Garoppolo is expected to be traded or released before Week 1 marks its arrival. With Lance facing a critical season as a first-time starter, he’s expected to lean heavily on Samuel’s playmaking abilities. Look for Lance to pepper Samuel with targets early and often.
Reaching a compromise with Samuel is a deal Lynch had to make. The 49ers remain postseason contenders in an unpredictable NFC West despite making a big-time change at quarterback. The 49ers will likely remain a run-heavy offense as Lance continues to acclimate to the NFL, but Samuel’s dominant presence all over their offensive formations will help San Francisco maintain some resemblance of a balanced offense while aiding Lance’s transition.
The financial victory is notable. Samuel received $58.1 in guarantees, which means he’ll see at least roughly 80% of the money contained in the agreed-upon contract. Signing a three-year term also allows Samuel to reach free agency at 30 years old. It almost guarantees the Inman, South Carolina native will sign another lucrative contract at the expiration of this newly-minted deal.
The 49ers are expected to compete with the Super Bowl-defending Los Angeles Rams for the NFC West title. Another postseason berth in 2022 is the expectation in San Francisco. Samuel will remain a part of a talented and ascending roster. San Francisco reached a necessary compromise with one of the most dynamic receivers in the league. If Samuel’s production continues to be anything like it was in 2021, he’ll be worth every penny.
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