Deebo Samuel, 49ers 'Working Hard' on New Contract, Kyle Shanahan Says

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 30, 2022

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) runs the ball during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Saturday that the organization and All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel are in contract negotiations.

According to ESPN's Nick Wagoner, Shanahan remarked: "I know they're grinding through it. Nothing has been done yet, but I know they're working hard on it."

Shanahan also downplayed the narrative that Samuel's role on offense has impacted contract negotiations, per PFT's Mike Florio:

“Nope,” Shanahan said. “I was wondering about these press conferences. Now it just clicked. Welcome back. No, guys, Deebo and I talk a lot. We’re good. And we understand our role. I know there’s a lot of noise for five months and tweets and a lot of people are repeating what someone said and repeating and repeating and repeating. There’s a lot of negotiations going on. There’s a lot of money involved. It’s a big business deal, but besides everything else, we’re good.”

Samuel, who is coming off a career year that saw him earn first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, is set to enter the final year of his rookie contract in 2022.

ESPN's Jeff Darlington reported in April that Samuel had requested a trade out of San Francisco, and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport followed up with a report that Samuel was unhappy with his usage:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From NFL Now: For more than a week, the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> have been dealing with a major issue in their WRs room, as Deebo Samuel requested a trade. <a href="https://t.co/PDuN2TsjHz">pic.twitter.com/PDuN2TsjHz</a>

The manner in which Shanahan utilized Samuel last season made him one of the most productive offensive weapons in the NFL, and it also helped the Niners reach the NFC Championship Game.

Samuel set career highs across the board last season with 77 receptions for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns, as well as 365 yards and eight more scores on the ground.

The San Francisco offense essentially ran through the 26-year-old wideout, which is likely why the Niners are doing everything they can to sign him to a long-term deal.

While Samuel is present at training camp, David Lombardi of The Athletic described him this week as a "hold-in" since he is doing work on the side and not taking part in practices.

Samuel was essentially quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's best friend on the field last season, as he often took short passes and turned them into dynamic plays, which is why he led the league with 18.2 yards per catch while finishing second in yards after catch.

The Niners have made it clear that they are transitioning from Garoppolo to second-year man Trey Lance as the starting quarterback in 2022, and Samuel could be even more important with Lance under center.

Lance is a dual-threat quarterback who adds another dimension to the San Francisco offense, and there is no telling what he can do in tandem with Samuel, especially with Shanahan at the controls.

The 49ers will likely have to pay Samuel big money to ensure he is in the lineup for Week 1 of the regular season, though, especially since the likes of Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, A.J. Brown, D.J. Moore and DK Metcalf have all received new contracts recently.

Shanahan's comments suggest that Samuel and the Niners may be moving in a positive direction, although they only have a little over a month to get something done before the 2022 season commences.