football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
Deebo Samuel
San Francisco 49ers

What Will Deebo Samuel’s Next Contract Be Worth?

  • Jack McKessy
  • April 7, 2022
  • Share

Wednesday morning brought more good news for young wide receivers hoping for an extension in the coming year. Star wide receiver Stefon Diggs got his bag from the Buffalo Bills in the form of a four-year, $104 million extension, making him the fourth-highest paid receiver in the NFL by average annual value. After Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill cashed in with their big new contracts, Diggs has now followed suit. For a receiver as important to his team as Deebo Samuel is to the San Francisco 49ers, it seems that it’s now only a matter of time before he does the same.

This round of contract madness at the position began about a month ago when Christian Kirk and the Jacksonville Jaguars reset the market for pass-catchers with a four-year, $72 million contract. Suddenly, the top receivers in the game were worth more than $20 million per year, rather than the $15-17 million range many of them expected before the Kirk deal. While the NFL market was already trending toward paying up for premium wide receivers, Kirk’s new contract was the catalyst for a faster progression down that road.

Now, Hill and Adams have found the money they deserve with new teams. The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers realized the cost for their star receivers in this new market would be too demanding, especially with each team committing so much money to their quarterbacks. Meanwhile, Diggs’ deal is the first major receiver deal this offseason that didn’t involve said receiver switching teams to get paid. That’s thanks to Josh Allen’s relatively low cap hit this year—about $16 million—before it jumps to nearly $40 million in 2023.

This brings us back to Samuel. 

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be off the books after 2022 and Trey Lance will play on his rookie contract for a few more years. San Francisco’s current lack of a long-term financial commitment to a quarterback likely means the team wouldn’t balk at the idea of committing a lot of money to one receiver. And as important as Diggs has been to the Bills since joining the team in 2020, Samuel was all that—and maybe even more—to the 49ers’ offense in 2021.

The third-year receiver didn’t come into last year with the expectation of being a star. He had been solid in his rookie season in 2019, finishing second in receptions and receiving yards on the team behind tight end George Kittle, but his 2020 was cut short due to injury. The 2020 season’s rookie breakout star in San Francisco was Brandon Aiyuk, and he was expected to follow up a strong first campaign with an even better sophomore year.

Samuel stole his thunder.

Not only did Samuel lead the 49ers in receptions (77), receiving yards (1,405), and tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns (6), but he also led the NFL in yards per reception in 2021, averaging 18.2 yards per catch.

On top of his outstanding production as a receiver, the South Carolina product established himself as one of the best hybrid players in the league with his production as a running back. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry en route to 365 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, which also made him San Francisco’s leader in rushing touchdowns in 2021.

Altogether, Samuel finished third in the NFL with 1,845 all-purpose yards and 13.0 yards per touch last season. He earned first-team All-Pro honors and his first Pro Bowl nod for those efforts. That level of production and the honors that came with it were perfectly timed for Samuel, who has lined himself up for a big payday with his rookie contract set to expire after this season.

What a Samuel extension would look like is the big remaining question. On one hand, it may be more in line with Diggs’ new $20.2 million AAV contract than Adams’ or Hill’s, which will pay out $22.5 million and $23.85 million per year, respectively. Samuel’s track record isn’t quite as long and storied as Hill and Adams’ combined five first-team All-Pro and 11 Pro Bowl nods, and the South Carolina native has had some—albeit limited—injury trouble too. On the other hand, Samuel may still be able to negotiate a higher value contract than Diggs. He’s two years younger than the Bills’ star and has contributed massively as both a rusher and a receiver.

In the end, its value will likely end up somewhere between that of Diggs’ new contract and the massive contracts for Hill and Adams. It will also likely include less guaranteed money than any of the other big contracts from this offseason. All three of Diggs, Hill, and Adams are guaranteed more than $65 million, but Samuel’s injury history and less impressive résumé relative to the others will bump that number down a notch.

As far as the timing of a Samuel extension, it feels likely that the 49ers will try to negotiate an extension at some point before the 2022-23 season ends so Samuel doesn’t hit free agency. Both San Francisco and Samuel’s camp would ideally come to a deal before training camp begins in that case, thereby avoiding the in-season distraction of negotiations.

Regardless of when it happens, a massive payday is coming for the 49ers’ star offensive weapon. If his production continues to be anything like it was in 2021, he’ll be worth every penny.

Written By

Jack McKessy