This NFL offseason has been one for the books with top-player movement and major money being shelled out. From Russell Wilson leaving the Pacific Northwest after 10 seasons to Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams leaving Green Bay and Kansas City and landing mega-bags in the process.
But not all the top players who are seeking new contracts have had that kind of success in landing a new lucrative deal. One player who’s hoping to cash in is Deebo Samuel, the talented do-it-all wideout who also mirrors as a running back in Kyle Shanahan’s diverse offensive attack.
The former South Carolina Gamecocks star is looking for a major payday with the final year of his current rookie deal on the horizon. While the team holds the rights to his fifth-year option, Samuel wants a new deal prior to this season.
With not much movement on a deal, Samuel dropped a bomb Wednesday and told Jeff Darlington of ESPN that he has requested a trade from the Niners. Samuel is grossly underpaid. His 2022 salary is a mere $1,144,760, including a $904,519 signing bonus. While specifics for the trade request were not given, it’s been reported that Samuel wants a deal in the neighborhood of $25M, which would be a significant raise That would vault him ahead of pass-catchers like the Buccaneers duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and Panthers star wideout D.J. Moore.
“Sweep, sweep!” 🧹
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 10, 2022
GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed their two big stars (Samuel and Nick Bosa) and how the club is approaching deals for them in remarks at the NFL owners meetings in March.
“Like I’ve long said, those guys are going to be part of us for a long, long time. They’re fantastic players. They’re very much at the core of who we are and they’re fabulous players, fabulous people and a big part of who we are,” Lynch said.
Shanahan piggybacked his boss’ sentiments:
“But we need to figure it out. Those guys have earned a lot, two guys that I’m hoping that they are Niners forever, or at least as long as I’m here.”
Samuel has been watching the WR market explode this offseason with Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams becoming the two highest-paid WRs in the league after being dealt to new teams. Then Stefon Diggs got paid and his deal was also well-deserved. Those three are top-five at the position and deserved every penny of those deals.
The cashout that has the market blowing up and every No. 1 receiver in the league wanting to hit the negotiating table is what the Jaguars paid Christian Kirk, (four years and $72M). That’s $18M per season for a guy who’s never had a 1,000-yard season and has never been more than a third option.
Following the NFC Championship game loss to the Rams, Samuel was asked about a new contract and said, “That’s not my call. That’s out of my hands.”
Samuel Says Money Isn’t The Root Of The Trade Request
Samuel recently wiped his Instagram of all things Niners, which has become the new-age way of players publicly expressing unhappiness with the organization and their current contract situation. Last week he said he received racist remarks and death threats from fans for doing so.
That was the final straw.
#49ers WR Deebo Samuel says he's gotten death threats and racist messages from fans (likely over his contract situation).
Deebo says it doesn't bother him. Sad this stuff still happens.pic.twitter.com/EPLsnJYpmE
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) April 15, 2022
Deebo also points out that he doesn’t like the way he’s being used. In a way, lining up as a running back so often does de-value him a bit, while exposing him to more vicious contact. The running back market isn’t nearly as robust as the receiver market, but as far as Deebo goes his wanting a new deal is valid, as he’s outplayed his current contract.
Samuel finished the season with 1,770 yards from scrimmage (1,405 receiving and 305 rushing) becoming the first WR to ever have at least 1,300 yards receiving and 300 rushing in a single season. His eight rushing touchdowns broke a NFL-record that stood for 60 years. In the process becoming the first wideout to lead his team in rushes to paydirt since 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
Samuel, an All-Pro, also averaged 18.2 yards per catch, but he did all that while ranking 54th in routes run and 26th in targets. Even with the low number of routes and targets he finished fifth in the league in receiving yards. In three seasons he’s accumulated 167 receptions, 2,598 yards and 10 touchdowns. On the ground he’s rushed for 550 yards and 11 touchdowns in 38 career games played. Just call him a “wideback.”
Deebo Samuel had a season for the ages
💰 1,559 receiving yards
💰 7 receiving TDs
💰 502 rushing yards
💰 9 rushing TDs
PAY HIM 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/SAQWAAvoYB
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) April 8, 2022
AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin, DK Metcalf Wanna See The Money As Well
Samuel isn’t the only pass catcher from the 2019 class looking to cash in on his résumé. Titans wideout AJ Brown (195 receptions, 2,995 yards, 24 touchdowns) is looking to get paid and reports he and the team have begun preliminary extension talks. In D.C., Terry McLaurin (222 receptions, 3,090 yards, 16 touchdowns) has been the only consistent weapon on a Commanders offense stuck in neutral and devoid of talent. D.K. Metcalf (216 receptions, 3,170 yards, 29 touchdowns) benefited from playing with Russell Wilson, and his freakish athleticism and size will land him some big money.
💥 Terry McLaurin
💥 A.J. Brown
💥 D.K. Metcalf
Rank these 3 WRs pic.twitter.com/TWUpnI2ulG
— PFF (@PFF) February 20, 2021
All of these guys should get paid if Kirk got his, as they’ve been No. 1 targets for their teams. While their numbers have come in three seasons, it shatters what Kirk has done over four seasons (236 receptions, 2,902 yards, 17 touchdowns).
Deebo has over $20M reasons to want out.