Quick Bit: The 49ers’ Swiss Army knife is the last receiver in line for a contract extension following DK Metcalf’s new deal with Seattle. How will it look for Samuel?
And then there was one.
With DK Metcalf signing a three-year, $72 million extension with the Seahawks on Thursday, only one star receiver is still due for a new contract ahead of the 2022 NFL season: 49ers Swiss Army knife Deebo Samuel.
Samuel — who, like Metcalf, is entering the final year of his rookie contract — is in line to secure a similar deal after earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2021 with 1,770 total yards and 14 touchdowns from scrimmage. The 49ers have made it known that it’s more a question of “when” rather than “if” Samuel gets his pay day, and Thursday’s Metcalf news will only further pressure San Francisco to get a deal done.
The pressing questions about Samuel are: When he will get his new deal? What kind of extension he can expect to receive? The answers to those questions will put a bow on what has been an offseason of record-setting contracts at wide receiver.
With that, The Sporting News looks at what’s next for Samuel, how Metcalf’s extension affects his negotiations and what the 49ers need to do to secure their star receiver for the foreseeable future:
How does DK’s Metcalf extension affect Deebo Samuel?
First, it’s important to note that Samuel likely will not follow the models of Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, who received massive contract upgrades after being traded from Green Bay to Las Vegas and Kansas City to Miami, respectively.
San Francisco general manager John Lynch has said in no uncertain terms that the team does not want to part ways with Samuel, especially as it moves from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to 2021 No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance.
“We’ve had really productive and substantive talks,” Lynch said Tuesday, per CBSSports.com. “I don’t want to get everyone all excited that something is imminent, because we’re not there yet. (We’re) really hopeful that in the near future, we’ll be able to announce something that is exciting for everyone involved.”
So, Samuel will get an extension with the 49ers as opposed to a trade to another team. How, then, will Metcalf’s extension affect Samuel’s contract negotiations with them?
At the very least, the 49ers have to be aware the most versatile weapon in their arsenal is the last receiver this offseason to receive an extension. That status certainly can’t make the team comfortable.
More importantly, Samuel is represented by Metcalf’s agent, Tory Dandy, who now has the blueprint for negotiations with San Francisco. It’s a small, but not insignificant, step in the right direction for both Samuel and the 49ers.
How is the uncertainty around Jimmy Garoppolo holding up a Samuel extension?
The 49ers have good news and bad news with regard to an extension for Samuel.
The bad news is that San Francisco has the third-lowest salary cap space available of any team, a paltry $4.29 million. That leaves the 49ers almost nothing with which to work.
The good news: San Francisco can free up $24.2 million in cap space simply by releasing Garoppolo, whose contract includes no more guarantees. That said, the 49ers’ refusal thus far to cut him suggests they want to get something — anything — of value for a QB who could be an intriguing option for some teams.
Unfortunately for Garoppolo, teams have been hesitant to take on that hefty contract while he is completing his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. The Browns, who once made the most sense to acquire Garoppolo, does not want him. The Seahawks are a potential trade partner but likely wouldn’t want to trade significant draft capital to a division rival.
Moreover, the Seahawks don’t have the salary cap space ($18.23 million) to handle Garoppolo’s contract. He would need to agree to a pay cut or have the 49ers agree to eat some of his contract (an unlikely outcome, as San Francisco’s top priority is freeing up space for Samuel).
For now, it seems as if the 49ers will cut him only as a last resort. Meanwhile, Samuel waits.
What kind of contract can Deebo Samuel expect from the 49ers?
This is the (multi)million-dollar question. The wide receiver market has been written and rewritten and rewritten all offseason, with several receiving deals worth well above $100 million.
Expect Samuel to get an extension of three to four years with a sizable signing bonus, which will allow the 49ers spread out the cap hit over the course of the deal. A look at the biggest contracts given out to receivers this offseason:
Deebo Samuel stats
Samuel surprisingly is among the least productive of the upper-tier receivers of the 2019 NFL Draft class, ranking last in receptions, fifth in yards and last in touchdowns.
That said, Samuel has something none of the other receivers has: a first-team All-Pro selection. That’s thanks to a 2021 campaign in which Samuel led the NFL with an astounding 18.2 yards per reception. He compiled 1,405 yards and six touchdowns receiving. He added 59 rushes for 365 yards (an impressive 6.2 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns.
In all, Samuel had 1,770 yards and 14 touchdowns from scrimmage. It’s uncertain how that production has affected negotiations, especially considering he had just a decent first season in the league and was limited by injuries in his second.
But that All-Pro season — and recent developments in the receiver market — can only mean good things for Samuel.
Originally found on Sporting News Read More