The 2022 NFL offseason has been the year of the wide receiver. The position is becoming more and more important around the league with teams shifting their offenses toward more aerial attacks. As a result, wide receivers are looking to get paid handsomely. One of those wide receivers was San Francisco 49ers’ star Deebo Samuel.
A lot of the focus was on the 2019 draft class, specifically the second round. The second round was loaded with wide receiver talent in A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and Deebo Samuel. All three were involved in trade rumors as they negotiated long-term deals. Coincidentally, all three share the same agent, Tory Dandy.
Brown was the first player on the move, as the Tennessee Titans traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles. Metcalf signed his new contract with the Seattle Seahawks last week, agreeing to a three-year, $72 million deal. Now, Samuel has landed his extension.
The No. 36 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft agreed to a three-year deal with a maximum value of $73.5 million. That deal makes him the sixth highest-paid wide receiver in annual value and will ensure he remains with the San Francisco 49ers for the foreseeable future.
Samuel is an integral part of the team’s success, as he was deployed in a hybrid role last season as a wide receiver and running back. He caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards, leading the NFL with 18.2 yards per reception, and six touchdowns. On the ground, Samuel racked up 365 yards and eight more scores.
The 49ers are certainly happy to have Samuel back in camp, but the happiest person is likely Trey Lance. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is taking over the starting quarterback job from Jimmy Garoppolo this season.
Lance is under immense pressure heading into the season, as this is a roster strong enough to contend for a Super Bowl. San Francisco has been led to two NFC Championship Games by Garoppolo but has never gotten over the hump to secure a Lombardi Trophy. The organization believes Lance has enough upside to get them to the promised land.
Advancing beyond the NFCCG and winning a Super Bowl, however, would have been much tougher for Lance without Samuel in the fold. The team has had four training camp sessions without Samuel and the offense was shaky at times with Lance leading the way.
With Samuel getting back into the mix, Lance is the biggest beneficiary. Having his best weapon in the lineup will make life much easier and it would not be surprising if he picked things up in training camp once Samuel is up to speed.
With Lance under center, the 49ers’ offense is going to be much more dynamic. He is a legitimate dual-threat, providing Kyle Shanahan the opportunity to get even more creative with his game plan. Knowing Samuel is in the fold is essentially the green light Shanahan needed to dip into his bag of tricks.