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Rapoport: The 49ers have told Deebo Samuel they’re not going to use him as a running back

Cooper Kupp is the latest WR to receive a new deal

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The 49ers canceled their final minicamp practice scheduled for Thursday, and the OTA practices on deck next week. That means Deebo Samuel doesn’t have to worry about any potential fines if he were to miss as he waits for a new contract.

Training camp is usually the final weekend of July, so the Niners have a month and a half to work out an extension with Samuel. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport joined Pat McAfee’s show earlier this week to explain what he thinks it’ll take for a deal to get done:

What the 49ers, I think, have done is try to say to him, ‘we are not going to use you as a running back,’ They drafted a running back in the third round. They have a couple of good players, running backs, coming back from last year. I think they’d like to use him on the gadget plays but not give it to him between the tackles 15 times. That is something that actually speaks maybe louder than a new contract.

It’d be silly not to give Deebo a jet sweep, a screen, or an occasional toss. This is a player who averaged over six yards per rush when he carried the ball last season. And that was on nearly 60 carries.

No matter who the Niners brought in, Samuel remains the best back on the team. The team’s message is more about longevity for Deebo’s career. Another season of the every game wear and tear that running backs go through would be a detriment, and everyone involved knows that.

Rapoport continued, echoing those statements:

He wants to be paid like a receiver. This contract is great, but he doesn’t want it to be his only contract. I mean, we see what happens to running backs. They get beat up. It’s actually really forward-thinking and smart. It really is.

It’s common sense. It’s self-awareness.

The more wideouts get paid before Deebo, the better for him. Rapoport hinted that both sides still have a way to go to figure something out. Cooper Kupp was the latest big-name wideout to receive an extension. Will Deebo’s price keep rising the longer the team waits?