Did Jed York have his first moment with Joe Lacope?
Even if York didn’t make the actual call to Deebo’s agent Samuel this weekend to finish a new three-year, $73.5 million extension in time for Monday’s first padded practice, York certainly signed up for the unfamiliar aspects of this deal. It might have been suggested by chief negotiator Parag Marath or general manager John Lynch. But again, the owner has to agree to this.
And I think York has done what Lacob has done many times in the recent history of the Warriors, and it’s not something we’re used to seeing from the 49th side of town. York had to tell his negotiators:
Let’s skip the financial caution a bit, we need that player now. Let’s go to it. But now we have to win.
This does not mean that York is running a cheap operation. The 49 players have paid their players fully at market rate, and they’re paying Kyle Shanahan and Lynch pretty well too. The 49ers traded in three first-round picks to get to the Tri Lance in April 2021 and still keep Jimmy Garoppolo’s big payroll on the payroll because Shanahan and Lynch felt that was the best way to win in 2021, and they were right. York allowed it. Yes, Garoppolo’s salary is resident On the payroll now, even with Lance officially settled as QB1. (Although Garoppolo’s salary should drop soon.)
But still, Samuel’s deal looks different because it’s different. It seems more urgent than their usual discussions about the dollar. It seems less conspiratorial and scheming. Yes, it reminds me of Lacob, which is a very powerful model to follow if you want to win. (And spend a lot of money).
While the 49ers worked their way up by keeping the money secured in this deal to $58.1 million – well below the guaranteed totals that have been landed by top receivers Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams in the past few months – the relatively short three-year period It is a relatively short period of time. A huge team franchise. It’s about the biggest practical concession I’ve seen made by the 49ers in Marath’s negotiating period, which has been incredibly long and effective.
The 49ers did it this way to get Deebo back to the training ground after he “locked up” four of his exercises to start his training camp. They did it right in time for Monday’s first lined practice, which may or may not have been used as a real deadline by both sides. They did as Lance and the other quarterbacks struggled a bit to start this camp against the 49er defense.
They did it because it was time to give up a little bit. And they did it because 49 players think they can win this season. The only way they can win is if Debo trains hard and is happy to be 49er. So they did it.
Shanahan said at the start of camp, “You know, I love our team now, like when I sit and go through our spots, some of the guys we’ve added, some guys in the last couple of years who are fast becoming some of our best players and leaders. … What I see on paper is that I see A chance… and that’s all you can ask for as a coach. And I just want to go work with them.”
This tells you a lot about how much York trust Shanahan and Lynch. This also tells you how whole brain confidence is looking at the 2022 season. And yes, it tells us all how badly everyone at the top of this franchise has wanted to win the title after the two play-offs in the past three seasons.
Essentially, if all the reports on this deal are correct (and we’ll see more details in the coming days), the 49ers have veered away from the timeframe of every major extension they’ve made recently. This is a major major thing. Fred Warner Extension: Five Years. George Keitel Extension: Five Years. Trent Williams’ new deal: six years (with a fake one at the end, so it’s really a five-year deal). Garoppolo extended back in 2018: Five years.
The 49ers did it this way because longer deals allow them to spread the rewards over the life of the deal for maximum purposes. For example, Williams’ bounty was $30 million – spread over six years, and this only adds $5 million per year to his cap. Kittle’s bounty was $18 million – spread over five years, that only adds $3.6 million annually to the cap. When you do it like this, you can keep salaries relatively low (because the player is happy to get the bonus money up front) and keep max successes. It also gives the 49ers the right to keep the player longer, of course, without increasing the initial financial risk.
I’m sure the 49ers wanted five years with Debo as well. But the 49ers weren’t willing to pay more than $60 million in guarantees, which means they want the ability to get out of contract after three years if Deebo’s production drops while reserving the right to keep him for Years 4 and 5 if he continues to play at that level.
This was where the whole “usage” thing came into play. I think the 49ers were concerned that Debo, with his wide quarterback role, could have a shorter career arc in the running. I think Samuel and his agent were not happy that his versatility as a runner was used against him in these negotiations, which is what led to his trade order last April.
The big compromise seems to be that the 49ers have worked their way up on guaranteed money, but they can’t distribute the bonus, whatever it may be, on a long-term agreement, and if Deebo continues to play well through the contract, he’ll have to negotiate with him again relatively soon.
We’ll have to see if that contract was put in place in this last year of the original Deebo deal and runs until the 2025 season (when he’ll be 30) or if it comes out this year and then runs until the 2024 season (when he’s 30) would be 29).
We will also have to find out if the 49ers have given Samuel any guarantee, stated in the contract or not, that they will limit his use of regression or find a way to reward him if he carries him as much as he did at the end of last season. But from the reports so far, I don’t think that was part of that deal. I don’t know how this can be monitored in practice anyway. If Shanahan turns to Deebo at the end of a huge game and says, “Hey, we need to play it to win this game,” do you think Deebo would check contract language first? No way.
Deebo wants to win matches right away. Shanahan and Lynch want to win games right away. We always knew York desperately wanted to win and was willing to pay a lot of money to do so. And we just found out he also has some Joe Lacobe, which is always good for the team but also increases pressure. This is how you negotiate when you’re really hungry for the championship.
(Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today)