- Covered Rams for nine years for stlouisrams.com
- Previously covered University of Missouri football
- Member of Pro Football Writers of America
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After an offseason rollercoaster that included a surprising trade request, a social media scrubbing and a half-dozen other receivers signing lucrative contracts, the final domino fell Sunday when wideout Deebo Samuel agreed to a three-year contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers.
The deal is worth a maximum value of $73.5 million over the three years and includes $58.1 million in guarantees, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Samuel is the seventh wideout this offseason to sign a deal worth at least $24 million per year. Before this season, only DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals had hit that mark.
In striking the deal, the Niners and Samuel brought a peaceful end to a turbulent negotiation that saw Samuel request a trade from the Niners in April. Despite that request, San Francisco held firm to their desire to work through whatever issues bothered Samuel and reward him with a significant contract that would keep him with the team well into the future.
During the NFL draft, the Niners received some offers on Samuel but never got anything close to what it would have taken to move on from him. In the weeks that follows, Samuel slowly came back into the fold, attending the team’s mandatory, full-squad minicamp in June. Samuel then reported on time for the start of this year’s training camp.
He and coach Kyle Shanahan talked through the plan for him as camp opened on July 26, agreeing that Samuel would do conditioning work on the side as the Niners and his representatives continued hammering out a deal. At that time, Niners general manager John Lynch was more optimistic than ever that the sides would strike a deal.
“We’ve had really productive and substantive talks,” Lynch said then. “I don’t want to get everyone all excited that something is imminent because we’re not there yet, but really hopeful that in the near future we’ll be able to announce something that is exciting for everyone involved. Deebo is here today and we’re excited about moving forward with him as part of this team.”
In signing Samuel, the 49ers retained their most productive offensive player. In 2021, Samuel, 26, coined the term “wide back” because of his ability to play receiver and running back. In his dual-role Samuel emerged as a unique offensive threat, becoming the first player since 1999 and third in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receiving yards, five receiving touchdowns and five rushing scores in the same season.
Along the way, Samuel averaged a league-leading 18.2 yards per catch and 6.2 yards per carry while scoring a combined 14 touchdowns. His 1,770 yards from scrimmage ranked third in the NFL and his eight rushing touchdowns were the most by a receiver in league history as he surged to All-Pro honors.
In three NFL seasons, Samuel has 167 receptions for 2,598 yards and 10 touchdowns with 550 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground. He has played in 38 games, missing one in 2019 and 2021 and nine in 2020.
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