No, it’s not a free agent the team is targeting. It’s someone on the roster who many, particularly 49er fans, believe is deserving of a financial elevation and a blockbuster deal. And Lynch himself says this certain player will be “well compensated” and be on the 49ers roster for awhile.
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That player? The man who invented the “wide back” position: Deebo Samuel.
Lynch’s Plan for Samuel
Speaking on the Thursday, January 13 edition of the Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks Show on KNBR 680 AM/104.5 FM, Lynch let it be known: Samuel is not going to head to a different roster anytime soon. The 49ers and Lynch plan on keeping Samuel in the Bay Area. Here’s what the general manager said:
“Deebo’s going to be well compensated, and we plan on him being a Niner for a long time. When that happens, how that happens, I don’t know. But yes, we are very aware of (the many ways he contributes), and his time’s coming. I don’t know when but his time will come.”
Does this mean Samuel will soon become a free agent? Relax 49ers faithful, he’s not on the list of free agents for March 2022 by Spotrac. But, there’s one deal Samuel’s on that should be addressed.
Samuel’s Rookie Deal
Right after getting selected at No. 36 overall in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft, Samuel inked this deal: Four years for $7,247,476, including a $3,618,076 signing bonus.
Well, according to Spotrac, that deal officially expires after the 2022 regular season — making him a free agent for 2023. His base salary is expected to increase to $1,994,640.
Oh, what are the 49ers working with cap wise when the free agency period comes? They have $10,406,693 in cap space in the bank.
And there will be players on the ’22 free agent list who the 49ers will likely try to maintain. Names like Jauan Jennings, Laken Tomlinson, Azeez Al-Shaair and Arden Key — all four who have either come on strong late or put together a career year — all come to mind on the 49ers’ likely list of negotiation priorities. The 49ers are also anticipated to decide on the future of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who like Samuel can become a free agent in 2023.
But to be honest, Samuel is deserving of a boost in his checking and savings accounts.
What Samuel has Done
The “wide back” has been quite the mismatch for defenses — not knowing if he’s going to burn them deep on a route or plow through them running the ball.
Or, in the case of the nail-biting 27-24 overtime win on Sunday, January 9 over the Los Angeles Rams, hit teams with the unexpected arm strength:
In tracing back to that Rams game, Samuel helped spark that comeback: He scored the 49ers’ first touchdown on his rushing touchdown, then came that touchdown pass on the subsequent offensive possession and, provided the biggest play that eventually helped set up the tying touchdown.
He even planted outside linebacker Ogbonnia “Ogbo” Okonrowko to the ground with a violent right hand:
But outside of his heroics versus the Rams to clinch a playoff spot, he finished six of his final eight games by scoring a rushing touchdown. He went on to combine for 14 touchdowns in putting together his first All-Pro year.
And before this season, Samuel had combined for just seven touchdowns in his first two seasons in the league.
Samuel has been everything the 49ers have asked for and much more. Now we’ll see how much more he gets money wise when the time comes, as Lynch pointed to.