Shanahan discusses Deebo Samuel extension and ‘wide back’ role

© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Deebo Samuel extension is officially almost official. On Monday, Kyle Shanahan confirmed to local media that Samuel had signed the deal earlier in the morning.

It’s a reported three-year, $71.55 million deal worth up to $73.5 million with $58.1 million in guarantees. It’s in a very similar ballpark to the three other young receivers represented by Samuel’s agent, Tory Dandy, in A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin and D.K. Metcalf.

The deal was secured before the start of the first day of padded practice on Monday, which Shanahan said was a “personal goal” of his. John Lynch hinted at that being a tacit deadline for both sides to come to an agreement.

Given that Samuel requested a trade earlier this summer, however, there are still some questions. The impetus for the request was never made clear and some reports suggested that Samuel might not want to be utilized as a “wide back,” the term he so fondly used to describe his multi-positional impact.

So, will the 49ers be able to use him how they were able to last year?

Shanahan indicated they will, saying that he never had a significant concern about getting a deal done. He said Samuel did not make a request in negotiations to only be utilized as a wide receiver and left the door open for a reprisal of that wide back role.

There’s no defined idea for how Samuel will be utilized this season. It will be situation and matchup based.

“We don’t plan exactly how we’re going to do something,” Shanahan said. “You do it based off of what other people are doing and based off of what gives you the best chance to win.”

One of the reasons they were able to get a deal done, Shanahan said, is that the 49ers and Samuel were finally in the same place, literally.

He made a distinction between the reports of displeasure from Samuel’s side around the time of the trade request and his personal relationship. Shanahan said he ignores most reports, leaning almost entirely on what he hears from a player one-on-one.

“If you pay attention to everything, you’ll go crazy,” Shanahan said. “If you take everything 100 percent, you’ll take things very personal. That’s why I pride myself and ourselves on just, talk to the person. What comes out of that person’s mouth is what I hang my hat on and that’s kind of all I go with. I don’t listen to anything except the communications I have with the individual.”

The trade request always felt a bit jarring given the relationship that Shanahan has long had with Samuel.

He expressed a level of appreciation for him as a man and a player last season that was unique.

That appreciation was reaffirmed on Monday, as Shanahan highlighted his competitive spirit, pointing at Samuel’s willingness to be used in different roles.

“That’s why I love being around Deebo,” Shanahan said. “Watch how he plays. My favorite thing about Deebo is how much he inspires people. He inspires me more than almost any player I’ve watched on a field. The way he runs the ball, whether you’re handing it to him, whether you’re throwing it to him, whether he’s catching it on a kick. These aren’t things you have to talk him into doing, it’s stuff he usually talks you into doing.”

Samuel will re-acclimate to the 49ers’ offense for the first time on Monday.

Shanahan indicated that he’ll be involved in padded practice, but that the team will be cautious so as not to overload him on his first day of running routes.

“We feel good about his conditioning,” Shanahan said. “I always worry just throwing a guy in with the amount of routes because routes are different [than conditioning]. So we’ll ease him in. He won’t be 100 percent with the reps that he would normally get, but we’ll increase it each day and watch how he is once he gets in those reps.”

The 49ers have their “wide back” ready to go, and Trey Lance now has his most explosive weapon available at his disposal. It should be an interesting season.


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