The San Francisco 49ers and wide receiver Deebo Samuel appear far apart in contract negotiations. Maybe over $ 6 million annually apart. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reports that Samuel seeks an annual salary in the range of 25 million. That wouldn’t make him the highest-paid receiver in the league — that’s Tyreek Hill at $ 30 million annually — but could catapult him into the top four.

That doesn’t sound unreasonable given what Samuel meant to the 49ers this past season, producing 1,770 all-purpose yards and 14 total touchdowns. However, that was just one season and his first surpassing 1,000 receiving yards. That may be San Francisco’s argument. The team is reportedly offering significantly less than Samuel’s asking price.

“Multiple league sources tell me the Niners put a baseline contract offer on the table for Samuel, which averages just under $ 19 million per year,” wrote Pauline.

Did things ever develop beyond that baseline? Are the 49ers and Samuel at an impasse?

San Francisco would like to hold onto Samuel but is unlikely to make the receiver happy with an offer like that. After always expressing enthusiasm toward head coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers, and his role with the team, the situation took an abrupt turn. This offseason, Samuel has scrubbed all things 49ers-related from his Instagram account and reportedly halted contract talks. If less than 19 million annual was really the offer, you could understand why.

“Most believe Samuel’s ultimate contract will be in the range of $ 23- $ 24 million per year,” Pauline added. “He likely won’t make as much money as AJ Brown, who could sign a renegotiated contract with the Tennessee Titans sooner than later.”

Samuel has been watching the wide receiver market skyrocket this offseason, with Hill, Davante Adams, and Stefon Diggs scoring big-time deals; the former two coming after trades. At 26 years old, Samuel is younger than each of those players. However, his role in San Francisco — often lining up as a running back in 2021 — has many questioning his longevity. Ironically, maybe that includes the team that put him into that position — the 49ers.