49ers start “wide back” Deebo Samuel has made it no secret that he wants to be paid as if he’s a top wideout in the league. It started with scrubbing the 49ers from his social media, and there have been not-so-subtle shots since. The most recent came via an Instagram post:
“If it ain’t 25M a year we don’t want it!! ”— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) April 13, 2022
- Liked by Deebo Samuel. pic.twitter.com/XnU123NUww
It’s getting more and more difficult to chalk this up as your typical offseason standoff. In the picture above, it’s not just that Deebo liked the picture — he’s in the picture. Of course, it’s via social media. Take everything you see on social media with a grain of salt.
And if you’re Samuel, why wouldn’t you take advantage when you’re coming off a historic season? Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline reported that Samuel is looking for $25 million a year, but that’s coming from Instagram, as you can see above:
So, where does it go from here? We’re told that Samuel, who is slated to make just under $4 million this season, will be looking for a contract in the range of about $25 million per year. Will that contract come from a team other than the 49ers?
The belief in league circles as of April 12 is the Niners will likely extend Deebo’s contract rather than trade him. If Jimmy Garoppolo is traded from the team as expected, San Francisco would save about $25.5 million in salary and won’t have a high-priced quarterback on the payroll.
It always comes full circle with the Niners. Assuming the team moves on from Garoppolo before training camp, an extension for Samuel would be easy to work out.
Watching this situation unfold over the coming months will be a sight to see. Does Deebo continue to get his message across through social media? That means every tweet or Instagram post will come off as cryptic, and fans will turn any and everything Samuel does and spin it. That’s the world we live in.
Samuel understands his worth. The 49ers' offense was effectively run through Deebo last year. They’re not in the playoffs without the magic he provided. And now, he wants to be compensated. As Pauline mentioned above, a deal will likely get done, but not before Deebo lets everyone know his value. To me, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer chimed in on the Deebo saga:
So to me, the middle ground here might be the Niners giving on upfront cash, and Samuel and Dandy giving on term—so maybe you’ll see a five-year extension (covering six years) that has $75 million or so packed into its first three years, with smaller numbers on the back end. My guess is Samuel will shoot for more than that, while that might be too rich for the Niners initially. But I think it’d be a good middle ground.
Whether it’s attainable, based on where the negotiation is, I don’t know. I’d figure in the interim John Lynch will get calls on Samuel’s availability, and he’s shown no fear in dealing off young stars in the midst of a contract negotiation before (see: Buckner, DeForest), especially when there’s another one to take care of simultaneously (Arik Armstead then, Nick Bosa now). But I think a real effort to do a new contract will happen before then.
A deal for Samuel will get done. Now, another question is whether Deebo gets the money in or on his terms. As is the case with most negotiations, both sides will have to meet each other in the middle.