While the 49ers have likely reached an impasse surrounding contract talks with Deebo Samuel, perhaps both sides are trying the patient approach.
All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel‘s scrub of all things San Francisco 49ers from his social media certainly created quite a stir, and it’s led to all kinds of speculation about his future as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.
Currently scheduled to earn just $4.89 million, the receiver who had 1,770 all-purpose yards in 2021 has vastly outplayed what he’s earned up to this point. And in light of other top-end wide receivers like Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams cashing in on lucrative new contracts after the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers traded them, respectively, it’s no wonder why talk about the Niners potentially doing the same with Samuel popped up.
A blockbuster move could still happen, yes. But the truth of the matter is San Francisco is still in control, at least right now.
Samuel could hold out of offseason workouts, but the fines for skipping training camp and preseason games are significant under the current collective bargaining agreement, and it might not make much sense, financially, for the 49ers’ top offensive weapon to follow that path.
And while the social media scrub was newsworthy, it might merely be a tactic.
Perhaps 49ers aren’t worried at all about Deebo Samuel situation
There hasn’t exactly been a swarm of comments from the Niners following Samuel’s social media activity. But NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco shared a little bit on the close relationship Samuel has with head coach Kyle Shanahan:
"In addition to Samuel being the player he trusts the most to fill a variety of roles, Shanahan has a deep appreciation for his multi-dimensional wide receiver as a person.During the season, Samuel would make frequent visits to Shanahan’s office to discuss his role in the upcoming game plan and to discuss life, in general.Samuel described his relationship with Shanahan in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area this offseason. Samuel said they talk about “literally everything.”“I think because he’s a head coach, certain guys go to work and say hi to Kyle, and that’s it,” Samuel said. “I actually go into his office every Monday and Tuesday and we just talk about the game, the game plan, and then we go off and talk about how his kids are doing and how my son is doing. It’s a relationship that’s been built over time.”"
While money talks the most, relationships do matter, too. Sure, Shanahan tends to stay away from the business side of football matters, but he has influence.
Maiocco also expanded on how tight end George Kittle and linebacker Fred Warner, two other players who far outplayed their respective rookie-contract values, had to be patient with their lucrative extensions:
"Samuel is in a similar situation this offseason to what George Kittle and Fred Warner experienced the past two years. …Kittle’s agent expressed some level of frustration with the slow-moving talks throughout the 2020 offseason. The 49ers eventually made Kittle the league’s highest-paid tight end with a contract agreed upon in mid-August.Fred Warner became the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL with his extension in mid-July of last year. Darius Leonard’s deal three weeks later with the Indianapolis Colts surpassed him."
All this might merely be a case of “we’ll get there when we get there.”
Perhaps Deebo Samuel is being patient, too
Understandably, it would be in Samuel’s best interest to land a lucrative deal sooner rather than later.
After watching contract talks play out with Kittle and Warner, though, he surely understands the crucial business side of discussions as well. Extension negotiations aren’t going to be generating immediate results.
And a recent post from his Instagram account suggests this:
Perhaps this is still at a standoff. Yet it doesn’t automatically mean it’ll stay that way, and it’s surely possible some sort of deal winds up coming into the fray later on this offseason.
Not necessarily as quickly as Samuel might have liked, but eventually.