Agent: $450 Million Pro Bowler Helped Spark 49ers’ Samuel Deal

Deebo Samuel

Getty Deebo Samuel breaks away from a tackle during Super Bowl 54 on February 2, 2020.

Once Deebo Samuel used his right hand to sign away on his newest San Francisco 49ers contract, he joined this exclusive list: The wide receivers who helped reset the market.

The 2021 All-Pro wide receiver agreed to his newest three-year extension that pays him up to $73.5 million overall. Also included is $58.1 million guaranteed. Samuel took to his personal Instagram page following the massive deal to share how he “walked by faith” and ended by saying “let’s rock out 9ers.”

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Samuel joins a list of All-Pro wideouts who signed blockbuster deals this offseason in Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, Super Bowl 56 Most Valuable Player Cooper Kupp and recently, D.K. Metcalf. In a graphic posted by The Athletic’s 49ers insider David Lombardi, Samuel’s fully guaranteed money places him ahead of Metcalf and Brown — who are additional clients of Samuel’s agent Tony Dandy.

But now, questions have surfaced on how the 49ers were able to come up with that kind of money. Or better yet, who helped spark the wild receiver market the league has never seen before.

One NFL agent, who spoke with Heavy NFL insider Matt Lombardo on Wednesday, August 3, pointed to how a previous record-setting deal is the likely reasoning on why wide receivers and getting more cash than ever before.

‘Other Agents Have Learned’ From This Pro Bowler’s Deal

Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes is on a 10-year, $450 million deal that became the richest in NFL history.

While one unanimous NFL agent told Lombardo that “The Jaguars and Christian Kirk broke the pay scale,” plus how “they did it early in free agency, which set the market” for the 2022 cycle, another agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the interest of his clients (his clients are some of the league’s top receivers), believes that Mahomes helped create the new market.

“It’s all about maintaining their market value,” the second agent told Lombardo. “I think a number of other agents have learned from the Patrick Mahomes deal that less is actually more.”

Lombardo added how “Mahomes and the Chiefs agreed to terms on a mammoth 12-year pact that includes $141.8 million guaranteed. Despite the eye-popping totals, it’s also a deal that by its second half could put the Chiefs’ star in the middle of the pack at his position. It doesn’t sound like that’s a trend that is going to carry over to the receiver position anytime soon, nor is any sort of market correction on the horizon, either.”

Which got the agent who brought up Mahomes’ deal to conclude “Not everyone has a team-first mentality, like Patrick. So, the quicker a player can get to a second or third contract while still at the peak of their career is far better for everyone. It comes down to trying to time that next market explosion while they’re still in the prime of their career.”

All the receivers who signed mega deals, including Samuel, are all considered in the prime of their careers by pundits and NFL fans. But there’s another explanation of how Samuel helped get his deal — and this one came from a longtime past NFL front office executive.

What Former GM Said About the Changing WR Market Landscape

Heavy contributor and former NFL general manager with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins Randy Mueller once was an executive during a time names like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Chad Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Hines Ward and Steve Smith Sr. were among the league’s elite tier of wideouts.

But that was before the NFL became the pass-happy league as it is now from his view.

“More than ever before, the NFL is a ‘throwing and catching’ league,” Mueller told Lombardo.

That aspect has now provided an assist for teams in figuring out new deals.

“That plays a bigger role than anything else in determining values. Teams realize that’s the best way to score points under the current rules, so the receivers are among the biggest benefactors,” Mueller said.

And in this case, the “wide-back” Samuel became the latest biggest beneficiary following his breakout 2021 campaign…and in a free agent market that one man believes was helped created by Mahomes.

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