The 49ers would have preferred not to have a contractual standoff with Deebo Samuel, but the financial ramifications of that could be long-lasting.
In an ideal world, the offseason drama that existed between All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel and the San Francisco 49ers would have been less of a public discussion or hadn’t been an issue at all.
Granted, it’s great news for general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan that Samuel apparently has put a halt to his trade request submitted earlier this offseason, indicated by physically showing up at mandatory minicamp (albeit not participating in team practices), yet there’s a long way to go before whatever bridge between the two parties is fully mended.
Samuel, who had 1,770 all-purpose yards in 2021, is eligible for a new contract. And the Niners clearly want to get a deal done.
However, the delay in negotiating an extension might create some ramifications San Francisco wasn’t hoping for.
Bleacher Report suggests 49ers will regret not extending Deebo Samuel earlier
A lot happened during the timeframe in which Samuel and the 49ers could have negotiated an extension.
The Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs traded All-Pro wide receivers Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, respectively, to the Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins, and both pass-catchers secured massive payouts in the wake of their trades.
During the NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans shipped off wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles, and Brown cashed in on a new deal he wasn’t going to get with Tennessee.
As such, it’s no surprise Bleacher Report listed the Niners not getting a deal done with Samuel as a potential massive regret for the 2022 offseason:
"Still, San Francisco likely wishes it had inked Samuel to an extension at the start of the offseason, as new deals for Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown and Cooper Kupp have reset the receiver market.Brown is the least expensive of the four, and he’s set to earn $25 million annually on his new deal. That’s likely now the floor for Samuel, though there’s a bit of a caveat for the 49ers. …Had the 49ers locked up Samuel before free agency, a deal in the $20-million-per-year range might have been feasible. Now that Hill is getting $30 million per year—and the far less proven Christian Kirk is getting $18 million annually—San Francisco likely has no chance of keeping Samuel on a team-friendly contract."
Related Story: Is a new deal between 49ers and Deebo Samuel now imminent?
How 49ers use Deebo Samuel may impact extension talks
That “caveat” to which B/R referred might be a bit of an X-factor here.
There’s no questioning Samuel’s uniqueness as a “wide back” influenced his All-Pro nod last season, and it does help increase his value to a certain degree.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, however, Samuel was possibly more upset with the way in which he was used rather than whatever initial offering San Francisco was prepared to give him.
It makes sense, as Samuel would preferably like to cash in more lucrative paydays over the course of an extended career rather than being subjected to the rigorous punishment most running backs typically receive, thereby often ending their careers before reaching 30 years of age.
And while Brown’s annual average of $25 million is the floor for a would-be Samuel extension, it’s possible the “uniqueness” of Samuel’s skill set could have earned him closer to $30 million a year.
That could translate into a mean average between those two figures.
Still, it’s fair to wonder whether or not the 49ers could have spent less over the long run if they had locked Samuel up much earlier and avoided his contractural confrontation from the very beginning.