Deebo Samuel’s Contract Carries Big Incentives For Hybrid WR-RB Role

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Despite playing his way to first-team All-Pro status using his celebrated skill set as a wideout and runner out of the backfield, Deebo Samuel reportedly informed the San Francisco 49ers that he preferred shifting to a full-time receiving role in the upcoming season.

With the request, Samuel hoped to assume a role that could showcase his ceiling at his true position. Paired with his negotiations for a contract extension, Samuel seemed put off with racking up more hits to his body and balancing the WR / RB role moving forward.

To keep Samuel motivated, the Niners went all out with incentives in his recent three-year, $73.5 million (max) contract extension.


As relayed by ESPN insider Adam Schefter, the Niners are giving Samuel up to $1.95 million in incentives. The extra dough from Samuel’s elite deal will be based on achieving certain performance marks in receiving or rushing yardage, along with touchdowns.

Schefter tweeted on Monday: “Deebo Samuel will receive $650,000 per year for each year he has 380 or more rushing yards. Samuel also will earn $150,000 if he scores three rushing TDs in any one year. He maxes out at $650,000 per year and 1.95 million over the life of his new contract.”

San Francisco’s system has utilized Samuel to the extent that his production and their offensive direction feels like a unique pairing in the NFL. With second-year QB Trey Lance now taking the reins from veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, it became nearly absolute that the Niners would bring Samuel back with a new deal and stick around to aid Lance’s early development as a starter.

When asked about his returning star receiver, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan shared that the team hopes to flex Samuel into either role to keep the offense running.

“I think [it’s] based off of whatever happens,” Shanahan said, as relayed by ESPN

“From my standpoint schematically, from our team’s personnel, from Deebo’s, from what we think gives us the best chance to win, if we wanted to move Deebo to running back that would have been something that we were honest about. …

“You can’t do that with anybody. You’ve got to do that with a special player and Deebo is a special player. That’s why he’s earned this contract that he’s got and I think that’s why he’s going to continue to earn it going forward.”

Physical burden aside, Samuel found his groove in the hybrid role last season. 

Samuel was selected to the 2021 Pro Bowl after posting 1,405 receiving yards and six touchdowns, adding 59 rushing attempts for 365 yards and eight running touchdowns.

Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.

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