SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers wideout Debo Samuel He signed a lucrative three-year contract extension on Monday, ending the question of whether he will stay at the club for the future.
But Samuel’s new deal raises several other questions about his future, the most pressing of which: Will the Niners continue to use him in the hybrid “wide back” role that elevated Samuel to first-team All-Pro status last season?
According to coach Kyle Shanahan, the answer is yes, but the form it takes will depend on many factors.
“I think [it’s] It came from nothing,” Shanahan said. “From my point of view, if we were to go with running back Debo, from our personnel, Debo, what we think will give us a chance to win, that would be it. We were about honest. … You can’t do this with anyone. You have to do that with a special player and Debo is a special player. That’s why he got the contract he got, and I think that’s why he’s going to keep signing him going forward.
Samuels agreed to a three-year extension through the 2025 season worth up to $73.5 million and includes $58.1 million guaranteed. As it turns out, some of that high value is directly tied to the incentives Samuel will receive if he fills that dual role with the same amount of production as in 2021.
Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday that Samuel could earn up to $1.95 million over the life of his contract if he meets certain criteria for yards rushing and rushing.
Samuels can earn $650,000 for every season he has 380 or more rushing yards. If he doesn’t get a rushing yard total, he can earn a $150,000 bonus for any season in which he scores at least three rushing touchdowns. In any case, he cannot earn more than $650,000 or more than $1.95 million in total over the life of the contract for these immediate incentives.
By comparison, Samuels had his most productive rushing season as a pro in 2021, racking up 365 yards and eight touchdowns, making a TD boost available and his total rushing total less likely for salary cap purposes.
Speculation continued throughout the season that Samuel was unhappy with his role and wanted to cut back on rushing attempts. But Shanahan said last week that he and Samuels were “exactly on the same page” regarding usage.
Shanahan reiterated Monday that Samuels will factor into his plans in any way necessary to help the 49ers win based on the opponent, what they see on film, how the 53-man roster is drafted and how the personnel group is assigned.
“As long as Debo stays healthy and can practice and go through things, Debo can do anything,” Shanahan said. “That’s why it helped us a lot to overcome the times we were asked to throw, whether it was in the passing game, the running game, blocking or throwing. Things you always want them to do.”
After signing the deal on Monday morning, Samuels joined the team in practice for the first time this season, the session being the team’s first full camp workout.
Since it was Samuel’s first practice, the Niners eased him in, kept him in the rush count, and continued to increase his workload as the day went on, Shanahan said. Samuel made two tackles for a big gain from the backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld In his limited work in group exercises.
Left baking Trent WilliamsA close friend of Samuel’s said there was significant energy in bringing him back into the fold.
“You see what he does receiving wise, you see what he does rushing wise, you see the spark he can be for the team,” Williams said. “You see when we come out of the locker room, that’s not just for show, that’s who we are in the locker room. If you go in there right now, that boom box is probably right next to the locker. That’s the kind of guy he is. And that’s why he’s important to this organization and that’s why we had him. .”