Santa Clara, CA – San Francisco 49ers wide Debo Samuel On Monday he signed a lucrative three-year contract extension, ending the question of whether he would stay with the team for the foreseeable future.
But Samuel’s new deal has also brought in plenty of other questions regarding his future, the most pressing being: Will the Niners continue to use him in the "wide-back" hybrid role that elevated Samuel to the top spot of the All-Pro team last season?
The answer is yes, according to coach Kyle Shanahan, but what form it takes will depend on multiple factors.
"I suspect [it’s] "Based on everything that’s going on," Shanahan said. From my perspective schematically, from the staff of our team, from Deebo, from what we think gives us the best chance of winning, if we were to move Deebo into a running back, that would be something that we were honest about. … you can’t do that to anyone. You have to do it with a private player and Deebo is a private player. That’s why he got that contract he got and I think that’s why he will continue to earn it in the future."
What Samuel earned was a three-year extension to the 2025 season agreed on Sunday worth up to $73.5 million and including $58.1 million in guarantees. As it turns out, a portion of that maximum value is directly related to the incentives that Samuel could receive should he perform this dual role at a similar production rate for 2021.
Sources told ESPN’s Adam Shifter Monday that Samuel could earn up to $1.95 million over the term of his contract if he meets certain criteria for fast yards and fast landings.
Samuel can earn $650,000 for each season he has 380 yards or more. If he doesn’t get the rushing yards, he can earn $150,000 in bonuses in any season he scores at least three rushing touchdowns. Either way, he can’t earn more than a total of $650,000 per season or more than $1.95 million over the contract period for these rushed incentives.
For comparison, Samuel had his most productive rush season as a professional in 2021, hitting 365 yards and eight touchdowns, making it more likely to earn a TD stimulus and an unlikely total rush to be earned for the purposes of capping salary.
Throughout the holiday period, speculation persisted that Samuel was not satisfied with his role and wanted to cut short his haste attempts. But Shanahan said last week that he and Samuel were on "exactly the same page" when it came to usage.
Shanahan reiterated Monday that Samuel will once again feature prominently in the plans in whatever way is necessary to help the 49ers win depending on the opponent, what they see in the movie, and how the 53-person roster and potential groups of people are shaped.
“When Depo stays healthy and is able to rehearse things and is able to go through with them, Depo is able to do just about anything,” Shanahan said. “That’s why he helped us so much to win, whether it was in the passing game or the running game or whether it was blocking or throwing the time we asked him to throw. When you have guys with skill sets they can do a number of things that you want to Always make them do it."
After signing his deal Monday morning, Samuel joined his teammates in practice for the first time this season, a session that happens to be the team’s first fully-lined practice.
Because it was Samuel’s first practice, the Niners tempered him, kept him up for surprises, and will continue to increase his workload as the days go by, according to Shanahan. Samuel has achieved several achievements to achieve significant gains from the reserve midfielder Nate Sudfeld In his limited work in group exercises.
Left Handle Trent Williamsa close friend of Samuel, said there was a noticeable increase in energy from getting him back into the barn.
“You watch what he does and he receives wisdom, you watch what he does quickly, you watch his spark plug for the team,” Williams said. "You see us coming out of the locker room, it’s not just for show. That’s how we’re in the locker room. If you go in there now, that boom box would probably be next to his wardrobe. He’s that kind of person and that’s why he’s important to this organization and that’s why We had to have it."