SANTA CLARA, Calif. — All-Pro receiver Deebo Samuel signed his three-year extension with the San Francisco 49ers in time to take part in the team’s first padded practice.
The two sides finalized the deal that will pay Samuel $71.55 million with $41 million fully guaranteed at signing on Monday.
“It was awesome to get Deebo’s deal done,” coach Kyle Shanahan said before practice. “I know it’s been a while but I’m just pumped they got it done and I know how pumped he is and we are and he’ll be back at practice.”
The deal ends a months-long saga that began before the draft when Samuel publicly demanded a trade. He stayed away from the team for the voluntary portion of the offseason but reported for mandatory minicamp in June and training camp last week.
But Samuel was “holding in” and hadn’t taken part in any practices as his representatives finalized the latest rich wide receiver contract.
Shanahan said that once he got to talk to Samuel in person this offseason he was confident a deal would get done and was hoping it would be finalized before the first padded practice Monday.
“There wasn’t much doubt for a while,” he said. “We’ve got a great relationship with Deebo. This stuff is always hard. It’s a big business. There’s a lot of money involved and big decisions for everybody. But we have a great relationship with Deebo and that’s never changed.”
Samuel had been set to be paid nearly $4 million in the final year of his rookie contract this season after being a first-team All-Pro in 2021. But he became the 14th receiver to receive a contract with an average annual value of at least $20 million, with 11 of those deals being signed this year.
Samuel emerged last season as one of the most dangerous offensive players in the game with the unique ability to thrive as both a running back and a receiver in Shanahan’s offence.
Samuel finished the season with 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 TDs. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice is the only Niners receiver ever to gain more yards from scrimmage in a season than Samuel did last year.
“My favorite thing about Deebo is how much he inspires people,” Shanahan said. “He inspires me more than almost any player I’ve watched on the field. The way he runs the ball, whether you’re handing it to him, whether you’re throwing it to him, whether he’s catching on a kick. These aren’t things that we have to talk him into doing. He usually talks us into doing. Deebo loves playing football and he loves helping this team win.”
Samuel had 77 catches for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns, leading the NFL with 18.2 yards per reception. He added 59 carries for 365 yards and eight TDs as he was used out of the backfield frequently in the second half of the season.
Shanahan said Samuel’s side never brought up his usage as a running back in contract talks and that it’s possible he would still be used that way again this season if it was best for the team.
“It was awesome to have that option to do that,” Shanahan said. “You can’t do that with anybody. You have to do that with a special player and Deebo is a special player. That’s why he’s earned this contract that he’s got, and I think that’s why he’ll continue to do that going forward.”
Getting Samuel back on the practice field was a priority for the 49ers so he could get to work with new starting quarterback Trey Lance. After drafting Lance third overall last year, the Niners are turning the offence over to him in 2022 and want as much time as possible to build a rapport between Lance and Samuel.
NOTES: The 49ers signed DL Akeem Spence to a one-year deal and placed DL Maurice Hurst (biceps) on IR.