For the first time since signing a reported three-year, $71.55 million extension — with an additional $1.95 million in running back-related incentives — Deebo Samuel spoke to local media.
It’s the first time since requesting a trade that Samuel has had to answer questions regarding the request.
And while there were no definitive answers, with Samuel leaning on a de facto “it’s business” response to any trade request-related questions, there was an intimation of impatience.
Both John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan said that the turning point in negotiations was when communications on both sides ramped up. Lynch said his attendance at OTAs was substantial and gave him confidence that a deal would be reached.
Samuel agreed with that when asked about the request and change in the tone of negotiations.
“At the end of the day, this is a business,” Samuel said. “So what changed was the communication. The more we communicated, the more we started figuring things out.”
He categorically denied that he ever had issues with being used as a wide back and can obviously reward himself with $650,000 in running back-related incentives each year.
Samuel credited a few people in getting him through an admittedly stress-inducing process, most notably Trent Williams.
He said he spent a week in the offseason hanging out with Williams, which he said “helped me a lot.”
There was one particular piece of advice that Williams relayed to media on Monday which stuck out. He said he urged Samuel not to eschew the importance and nonpareil sincerity of his relationship with Kyle Shanahan.
“The one thing I told Deebo is that you got to continue to work on these relationships that’s in in the building, not really worry about what’s on the outside,” Samuel said. “Not really worry about you know who in your corner saying this or that. Like, you and Kyle have a great relationship and I don’t think you should let that go. I think by you talking to him and y’all being the men that y’all are and the respect that y’all have with each other thing, I think everything will get worked out.”
Samuel, who said he had “really good people” around him throughout the process, including Williams, acknowledged the value of that relationship with Shanahan.
He said it began at the Senior Bowl.
“I can’t even explain our relationship, it’s just crazy,” Samuel said. “There’s not a day I don’t go in there to talk to him. Whenever he’s in the offseason, San Diego, at his beach house or whatever, he’ll FaceTime me on the ater. It’s just that kind of relationship I have with him outside. I mean it’s not necessarily about football, it’s just about life.”
Shanahan has consistently said he takes little stock in what is reported. What he values and considers of substance are his talks with players.
But Samuel did request a trade, even with that relationship. It’s still a bit of a head scratcher, and the awkwardness of that decision is obvious in how both sides continue avoid addressing it head on in the wake of his extension.
Asked if he regretted the decision to request a trade, Samuel paused for a moment, then leaned on the “this is a business” spiel, affirming that he’s happy to remain with the 49ers.
What was perhaps the most telling, in reflecting on the process and the last week — which he deemed one of the “most stressful” weeks of his life — is to understand the process is, well, a process.
“You just gotta be patient,” Samuel said. “Be patient, communicate, everything is not going to happen as you want it to at first.”
The intimation of impatience on Samuel’s side might tell us all we need to know.
But Samuel got his deal and the 49ers re-signed their star “wide back” for the foreseeable future. As awkward as the past few months were, the impact of those uncomfortable moments are minimal, and his immediate return to make spectacular grabs in practice affirms where the collective focus lies.