The rumor is that Deebo Samuel wants $25,000,000 per year, and if the 49ers don't pay up now, they will either have to pay him more later or lose him altogether.
Deebo Samuel is obviously a special player.
He led the league in yards per reception (18.2ypr) with 1,405 yards (5th in the NFL) on 77 receptions (24th in the NFL). What puts Deebo on another level of receivers is his rushing ability. He scored 6 touchdowns on the receiving end, but he ran for 8 touchdowns as a rusher. He ended up getting 59 carries just in the regular season. He had had more yards per carry than all but 1 running back. He is truly a threat at both positions. Good luck game planning for that.
So when Deebo says he wants to be paid like a top receiver, the 49ers need to be thankful he is not accounting for the fact that he is literally leading the league in TWO different positions. Here are some recent NFL Receiver contracts:
Tyreek Hill $30M/year
Davante Adams $28M/year
DeAndre Hopkins $27.25M/year
Stefon Diggs $24M/year
DJ Moore $20.628M/year
Keenan Allen $20.025M/year
Mike Williams $20M/year
Amari Cooper $20M/year
Chris Godwin $20M/year
I don't think many football analysts would say all of those guys are better receivers than Deebo Samuel. When you factor in his ability as a rusher, he definitely fits in with that top half. Deebo had more touches (receptions + carries) than everyone on this list. Cooper Kupp was the only receiver in the league to have more touches (he had 149 while Deebo had 136).
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He is only going to get more expensive.
If he makes it through the 2022 season healthy, he is going to earn a king's ransom. Every team with a contending quarterback is ready to drop some coin to get their guy the best receiver available. We saw DeAndre Hopkins pull in his big contract in 2020. We just saw Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill surpass his contract numbers. The margin between Deebo Samuel and the rest of the receivers who will become free agents after this season is HUGE. Here is a list of receivers that had more receptions than Deebo this past season whose contract also ends after this year:
I mean, it's not even close.
AJ Brown and DK Metcalf will also have their contracts expire and will probably pull better contracts than the guys on that list, but they didn't have near the production that Deebo did this season.
The 49ers have an opportunity to lock Deebo Samuel in right now at around $25M/year and I can't help but think that is an absolute steal. His production has warranted a big contract. That would make him the 4th highest paid receiver in the league, but it would also keep him from being the clear cut #1 receiver when next year's free agency begins. I can't help but assume his price tag goes even higher at that point. The 49ers need to recognize what they have and pay up.