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What Justin Jefferson’s deal means for 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

Jun 3, 2024 at 2:29 PM


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The Minnesota Vikings shocked the NFL world today by signing wide receiver Justin Jefferson to a reported four-year, $140 million contract extension, resetting the receiver market with an average of $35 million annually.

According to OverTheCap.com, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown now ranks second, averaging $32 million annually. The significant difference lies in guaranteed money. While Brown received $84 million in total guarantees and $51 million fully guaranteed, Jefferson's deal includes a whopping $110 million in total guarantees and $88.7 million fully guaranteed. The receiver with the next-highest amount of fully guaranteed money is Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins at $52.5 million.

Jefferson's contract now makes him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL, based on average salary, surpassing San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa.

Implications for Brandon Aiyuk


What does this mean for the 49ers and their contract negotiations with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who would undoubtedly like to approach these figures? While the 49ers might have benefited from signing Aiyuk before Jefferson's market-topping deal, the impact may not be as significant as some imagine.

"I don't think it means much of anything," said Al Sacco of the "No Huddle Podcast" on the show's latest episode.

Sacco believes Aiyuk's market was set when Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle signed his new deal, averaging $28.25 million annually. Sacco argues this is the range Aiyuk should expect, not closer to the new top of the market.

"These other guys are alpha dogs," Sacco explained. "And Aiyuk, you could argue, was the number one receiver on the Niners, but the Niners have four guys who get a lot of targets."

Sacco further explained that production from the 49ers' offensive playmakers is fairly balanced when it comes to targets, and Aiyuk doesn't get the same number of looks as some of the receivers in the tier above him.

"If he thinks he's worth more [than Waddle], he's not," Sacco concluded. "If the Niners think he's worth less, he's not. That's about where he should be. If you want to give him a little bit more than Waddle got, just because that tends to be how it works, great, but I feel like it's going to fall around that $28 million-a-year mark, and that gets it done."

Sacco's co-host, Brian Renick, agrees, suggesting Aiyuk should expect an average salary similar to what Waddle or Detroit Lions wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown earn annually, between $28-30 million. Renick argues that Waddle's and St. Brown's deals are comparable to the contract Deebo Samuel received from the 49ers, adjusted for salary cap inflation.

"And so I don't feel like the 49ers are doing something crazy if they sign Brandon Aiyuk to a deal that averages $30 million per year with whatever they figure their guarantees are going to be," Renick commented. "Justin Jefferson's contract should have zero effect on what Brandon Aiyuk should expect and what the 49ers should pay Brandon Aiyuk because, again, it's an outlier.

"I don't even know that Ja'Marr Chase is going to get a deal like that. Justin Jefferson is by far and away the best wide receiver in the NFL, period, full stop."

Like many, Renick is puzzled by the 49ers' strategy of delaying contract negotiations, leading to higher costs as the market escalates—especially with wide receivers. This happened with Samuel in 2022 and is happening again with Aiyuk.

You can listen to the entire conversation below.

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