SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

What The Terry McLaurin Contract Extension Means For Deebo Samuel

Jun 29, 2022, 9:00 AM

Deebo Samuel...

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Major news in the NFL landscape broke Tuesday afternoon as the Washington Commanders and wide receiver Terry McLaurin agreed to a three-year contract extension worth up to $71 million, making him one of the highest-paid WRs in the NFL, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal averages over $23 million per season and includes a $28 million signing bonus, the largest given to any wide receiver. The extension also has 76.4% of the new money in the deal guaranteed, tying McLaurin to Washington through the 2025 season, according to Schefter.

Terry McLaurin’s massive contract extension is only the latest in an offseason that has seen the wide receiver market explode in value with Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and A.J. Brown among others securing the bag this summer. But even with WR inflation, two receivers have held out through it all: D.K. Metcalf and Deebo Samuel.

Samuel has been the most dramatic saga of the two as the All-Pro requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers early in the offseason, citing contractual disputes between him and the Bay Area front office. News has simmered since then as general manager John Lynch made it clear he doesn’t want to trade his star offensive weapon.

“Well, we haven’t traded him, and — I’ve used the word fool — I’d be a fool to trade him, so yes, Deebo will be part of the 49ers this season,” 49ers General Manager John Lynch said, per NBC Sports Bay Area.

Trade talks cooled down even further when Samuel showed up to the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp in June, appearing more likely that a contract extension will be reached sooner rather than later.

But with the news of McLaurin’s new deal, the situation surrounding his fellow WR only gets murky as Twitter rushes to call out the 49ers for having yet to lock down their stud receiver.

Regardless of the Antonio Brown mockery, the question still remains: How does McLaurin’s contract affect a potential deal with Samuel?

For starters, the Commanders wideout and Samuel are both from the 2019 NFL draft class, and given their similar levels of production they should have similar contract extensions in theory. McLaurin has averaged over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons while only missing three games total.

The kicker here is what value each player serves their respective teams, as Samuel has been a far more crucial part of the offense for the 49ers than “Scary Terry” has been for Washington. Samuel served as both receiver and running back in the 2021 season for Red & Gold, amassing over 1,750 yards from scrimmage in the regular season. Deebo also earned Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors last season, while McLaurin is yet to make a single Pro Bowl.

You get the idea. Whatever McLaurin makes, add some more dollars to the deal as people close to Samuel have said “If it ain’t 25M a year we don’t want it!!” And that’s exactly what journalists and front office executives alike expect Deebo to command as Terry’s contract should serve as the floor of negations for any new deal with the 49ers this offseason.

That may seem like a lot of money but not if head coach Kyle Shanahan wants to keep using his offensive weapon all over the field like he has most recently. Samuel has shown his worth to a 49ers team lacking a true stud QB under center time and time again. Jimmy Garoppolo is middle of the pack at best and Trey Lance was a rookie last year, still learning the ropes as a quarterback in the NFL. Point being: Despite not having a strong signal-caller, Samuel was able to spearhead a San Francisco offense all the way to the NFC Championship game in 2021, making his value even more substantial.

However, the 49ers may be playing it smart as the 26-year-old Samuel hasn’t been able to stay healthy for a full season, missing 11 games across his first three years in the league. History has told us that physical receivers like Samuel don’t last as long in the NFL, given his violent style of play. With that in mind, it makes sense why the 49ers are hesitant to give Deebo the “Brinks truck” as the key factor will be the guaranteed money he’ll receive in the new deal.

Additionally, some reporters believe the longer Samuel holds out on, the easier it’ll be for the 49ers to sign him as the market has cooled off since its peak back at the start of free agency and the draft.

“If anything, waiting will actually save the 49ers a bit of money,” David Lombardi of The Athletic replied to a Twitter user. “The WR market was way overheated earlier this offseason and it’s shown signs of cooling off.”

Whether you believe that to be true is a matter of opinion but one thing’s for sure: If the 49ers hope to make the playoffs again in 2022, they better lock down the catalyst of their offense, otherwise, it’ll be an early vacation for all of them.

Follow Sactown Sports for more 49ers coverage. 

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