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49ers insider weighs in on what Brandon Aiyuk might earn with new contract

Mar 29, 2024 at 3:35 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel averages almost $24 million per season. That figure could be a starting point in the offseason negotiations with Brandon Aiyuk, the 49ers' next star looking to cash in on successful recent campaigns.

One 49ers insider, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, believes that's the range the team is looking to pay Aiyuk, who is slated to earn $14.124 million on a team-exercised fifth-year option in 2024. Speaking on Bay Area Radio station KNBR on Friday, Maiocco noted that the 49ers are likely hoping to pay Aiyuk something in the $25 million range, which would match Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown's annual salary.

While Brown is currently the fourth-highest-paid wide receiver, Aiyuk and his representatives aim to determine how much over that figure the 49ers are willing to go. The three receivers making more than Brown are Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams, who earns $26.7 million annually, Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders, who earns $28 million, and Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins, who earns $30 million.

While the fifth-year option benefits the 49ers at the negotiating table, Maiocco points out that there isn't a backup plan for the team if talks go south. That gives Aiyuk an edge.

"The 49ers are in a position where they just can't move on from Brandon Aiyuk because there's really nobody else," Maiocco said. "I mean, Jauan Jennings is a fine player, but he's a good number three. He only caught like 19 passes last season, so he's not a prolific pass catcher."

Maiocco notes that trading for a veteran wide receiver involves a learning curve. Aiyuk knows the offense, knows the system, and understands what head coach Kyle Shanahan asks of his receivers. In addition to hauling in passes, they are tasked with being ferocious blockers.

As for using a first-round draft pick to bring in a replacement, Maiocco remarked, "It's very difficult for a rookie to step in."

That means the 49ers may be forced to concede, paying Aiyuk $25 million or more annually and probably including significant guaranteed money in the deal.

Whatever the outcome, we probably won't see a resolution soon. The 49ers typically don't get these types of deals done until closer to training camp. In recent years, that was the case for tight end George Kittle, linebacker Fred Warner, and wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Last year, defensive end Nick Bosa signed his contract extension just days before the start of the regular season.

"I'm trying to get what I deserve," Aiyuk recently said during an appearance on "The Nightcap" podcast. "I feel like this season, this season playing football, I figured out who I was as a person and a player — what I bring to the table, what I bring to the locker room, what I bring to the organization. The value I hold when I walk in that building."

Aiyuk added, "We got professionals working on both sides, so hopefully, we can come to a professional agreement to continue playing professional football."
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