Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa were 49ers offensive, defensive MVPs in 2021

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

The 49ers wouldn’t have made it to the 2022 NFC Championship game without the production from Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa during the season.

The San Francisco 49ers’ 2021 campaign is now fully in the rearview mirror, and it’s safe to say the Niners’ finish of making it all the way to the 2022 NFC Championship game was quite the accomplishment.

Especially considering few pundits predicted San Francisco would get that far, and even fewer thought it possible when it was 3-5 earlier in the regular season.

While there were plenty of players who were vital in ensuring the 49ers would turn their season around and make it as far as they did, few come close to standing out as much as Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa and first-time first-team All-Pro Deebo Samuel.

Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa were 49ers’ 2021 MVPs

Typically, teams finishing in the top five for sack production often have at least two players recording double-digit sacks.

The Niners, who had 48 on the year and finished tied for fifth in that category, did not enjoy such a luxury.

Nevertheless, Bosa recording a career-best 15.5 sacks (fourth best in the league) and a league-high 21 tackles for a loss combined to make San Francisco’s defense a top-three unit in terms of yards allowed.

Noteworthy, considering two specific things: the perceived weakness of its secondary and the fact the next-best 49ers sack specialist, EDGE Arden Key, picked up only 6.5 sacks on the year.

It’s an absolute sham Bosa didn’t make a first- or second-team All-Pro selection this season, as he should have been at least in the discussion for the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say the Niners would have lost at least a few more games if Bosa hadn’t been present, thereby failing to make the playoffs.

Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Similarly, Samuel’s other-worldly presence on the field can’t be understated, as his 1,770 all-purpose yards from scrimmage ranked third best in that category.

It didn’t matter how Samuel got the ball, either as a receiver or as a running back, and his thrown touchdown pass in the Week 18 win over the Los Angeles Rams was just one more nugget for just how vital a cog he was in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Perhaps even more than Bosa, San Francisco could have easily finished with a sub-.500 record if Samuel wasn’t part of the equation this season. He alone probably saved the 49ers four or five wins in 2021.

49ers need to pay Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa ASAP

2022 will mark the first year in which both Samuel and Bosa will be eligible for contract extensions, and it’d be wise for the 49ers not to play around too much with those discussions.

Bosa could potentially set a new standard for top dollar given to a defensive player, perhaps surpassing the whopping $28 million annual average the Pittsburgh Steelers recently dished out to their All-Pro EDGE, T.J. Watt.

Money well spent. Elite-level edge rushers aren’t cheap, and their presence is vital to any team’s sustained defensive success.

Bosa proved that in spades over the course of 2021.

Samuel, meanwhile, could set a new mark for wide receivers, too, especially when factoring in just how versatile he was throughout the season and into the playoffs. Currently, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins holds the annual-average mark of $27.25 million, and it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see Samuel eclipse that.

Simply put, the Niners may just have to hand Samuel’s agent a blank check.

Fortunately, San Francisco does have a strong history of rewarding its top players, and it’s shaping up to look like it’ll do the same with Samuel and Bosa. Reports already suggest the 49ers are interested in making a deal with Samuel sooner than later, which is good. And one can imagine Bosa’s new deal won’t be too far behind.

Considering both players’ respective values to the team, ensuring they are cared for should be of the utmost priority.

MVP-like priority.

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