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49ers mailbag: Are you sold on Brock Purdy? What’s holding up the Brandon Aiyuk negotiations? Who’s next in line for a new contract?

Marc Adams
Jun 26, 2024 at 7:47 AM

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It's the dead part of the offseason. Not that the news ever dies, especially when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers. There's always plenty to discuss with this team. But it is the slower part of the offseason.

So we decided to open up a very rare summer edition of the 49ers Webzone Mailbag. We solicited your questions, and you responded with some good ones. Let's jump in and take a look.

What happened with the Aiyuk meeting yesterday and do you feel he will be a Niner long term? - Kevin N.

There's been no word regarding what was said or what took place in the meeting between Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch, and Brandon Aiyuk on Monday. I think we can safely assume they discussed money, as well as how the star receiver is feeling. He reportedly is taking this personally.

I do expect Aiyuk to be with the team long-term. But the 49ers are going to do it at their price, not his.

Are you sold on Brock Purdy? If so, which game was it that sold you? -Sasha R.

Yes, I am sold on Brock Purdy. I'm not sure it was any one game that sold me on him, rather what he did last season, after spending the entire offseason recovering from a UCL tear, was impressive. He has multiple characteristics 49ers fans had been waiting to see again in a starting quarterback. We spent years wishing Colin Kaepernick was more accurate, or that Jimmy Garoppolo was a better leader, or that Trey Lance was more experienced. Consider this about Purdy:

  1. He's cool under pressure.
  2. He throws an accurate, catchable ball that allows receivers to catch it in stride and pick up more yards.
  3. He's a leader and his team believes in him.
  4. He can make plays with his feet (whether picking up first downs or extending plays long enough for his receivers to get open).
  5. He's a winner and comes up big in big games. (Of all the guys you could blame for the Super Bowl loss, Purdy wasn't one of them.)

If you look at those characteristics, you can see Joe Montana. All Purdy needs to do now is win some Super Bowls. No pressure!

What part of the Aiyuk deal do you think is holding up negotiations? - Justin W.

My guess is the amount of money Aiyuk wants compared to the amount the 49ers are willing to pay is what is holding up contract negotiations. Aiyuk probably wants closer to what Justin Jefferson is getting, but the 49ers likely want to pay him closer to what Amon-Ra St. Brown is getting.

Last week, Aiyuk had the video that went viral, in which he told his friend, Jayden Daniels, "They said they don't want me back…I swear." I promise you, the 49ers did not say they don't want Aiyuk anymore. If that was the case, they would have traded him before or during the draft.

In all likelihood, the 49ers don't want Aiyuk at his asking price, and to him, that means they don't want him. But they do. How much do they want him? We'll find out in about one month.

When will 49ers players learn that Kyle and John can not stand "Talkers" and stop taking contract issues to social media and the press? - William S.

This seems to be the new way of negotiating, especially among wide receivers. As long as the players doing it are star players, I doubt they'll stop doing it anytime soon. Now, if someone like Ronnie Bell does it, we may see things turn out differently.

Who's more important between Deebo and Aiyuk? - Joe G.

Wow, this is tough. I tend to think Aiyuk is a better receiver than Deebo Samuel. And I think Aiyuk will be a very good player longer than Samuel will be, due to their playing styles.

But you can't overlook the fact that the 49ers offense struggled, at times, without Samuel on the field last season. He brings such a dynamic presence to the offense, with his physicality and attitude. They're a more confident and dangerous offense with him than they are without him.

If I had to make a long-term choice between the two, I'd pick Aiyuk. But I also realize that may be the wrong choice.

Are you concerned the 49ers may lose too many players after this season and have to rebuild? - Basil S.

No, not really. The salary cap can be manipulated, and even with a new Purdy contract and a new Aiyuk contract, they should still be able to be creative and figure things out. Now, is it possible that the 49ers may have to move on from someone like they did with DeForest Buckner? Of course. It's possible that could happen again.

But I don't worry about the Super Bowl window closing. Remember, Lynch and Shanahan built this roster from scratch. In 2017, they inherited a horrid roster, and in only a couple of years, had their team within seven minutes of winning the Super Bowl. If they did it then, they can do it again. And the cupboard in San Francisco isn't bare like it was in 2017. They'll be fine.

Other than Brandon Aiyuk, who is the next player entering the final year of their contract who you expect to receive a contract extension? - Dave Tiberius B.

There are some candidates for new contracts. But who will be next? Purdy is the obvious choice, other than Aiyuk. Who might be the other options? Here are five, listed in order of most likely to get a new deal with the 49ers.

  1. Deommodore Lenoir- A young cornerback who is only getting better, Lenoir seems the most likely of this group to get a new deal.
  2. Dre Greenlaw- One of the best linebackers in the NFL, coming off a major injury. When will Greenlaw return and what will he look like?
  3. Talanoa Hufanga- A former All-Pro safety, who is also coming back from a major injury. Will the 49ers be able to keep the talented safety?
  4. Charvarius Ward- One of the best corners in the league. The 49ers would love to extend Ward, but he may be too expensive.
  5. Aaron Banks- The 49ers never spend much on their guards, so I think Banks is the least likely to be extended.

Aiyuk will get a new deal around training camp. Purdy will get a new deal next offseason. I would expect Lenoir to be extended, maybe even before the end of the 2024 season. Greenlaw and Hufanga will be tougher to predict. Their injuries may make them easier to keep. Ward may be priced out of the 49ers' price range unless they can find a way to extend him before he hits free agency. Banks will be playing his final season with the 49ers in 2024.

Will Brock Purdy's new deal come next offseason, or will they wait until training camp in 2025, like they do the other star players? - Vanessa M.

When the 49ers gave Jimmy Garoppolo a new contract, it was in February 2018, right after the 2017 season, before he became a free agent. The same thing happened with Trent Williams. Those two contracts weren't with players who still had a year left on their old deal. So the 49ers had to negotiate new deals with Garoppolo and Williams while they could. They didn't have the luxury of waiting until summer.

Purdy isn't scheduled to be a free agent in 2025, so they won't be as pressed to get it done as they were with Garoppolo. But I still think the 49ers will work out a new deal with Purdy before summer comes in 2025. You want your franchise QB working with the team throughout the offseason, like Purdy has this spring and summer. It would be a mistake to allow negotiations to carry on until training camp, especially if Purdy doesn't practice without a new contract.

Now Purdy may practice with the team throughout the spring and summer, even without a new contract. But it's risky. That's why others like Aiyuk, Samuel, Nick Bosa, etc. did not touch the field without a new deal. The quarterback position is different, though, so I would expect Purdy to have a new deal before this time next year.

Who is the most important defensive player this season? - Josh

The most important player on the 49ers defense is their best player on defense, and that's Bosa. Even though last season was a down year by his standards, Bosa is still critical to what the 49ers do. If they lose Bosa, the defense will take a big hit.

Warner is another the 49ers won't want to lose. After that, I'd say Ward and Lenoir. But Bosa is number one to me.

Will Kyle ever hire an OC again? - William S.

Shanahan is the offensive coordinator. He may hire other coaches to take some of the load off himself, but he won't hire an actual offensive coordinator. And why should he? He's not going to find someone better than he is.

In the past Super Bowl when we had the ball with 2:00 minutes to go in the game, with 4th and 1, why didn't you go for it? We have big Trent Williams, in motion George Kittle, and lead blocker Juice, followed by the best RB in the league in CMC. One Yard? If we get it we can run the clock down to nearly nothing and still get points whether TD or FG… Seriously, I need to know. - John C.

I didn't remember a 4th and 1 late in the Super Bowl, either in regulation or overtime. So I went back and checked. The 49ers had a 4th and 5 with just under two minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. That's when they kicked a field goal to take the lead.

In overtime, the 49ers had a 4th and 4 at the nine-yard line, with 7:22 left in overtime. This was after Spencer Burford missed the block on Chris Jones and Purdy had to throw it away. Jake Moody kicked his third field goal of the game. We don't need to be reminded of what happened next.

As a side note, if Burford doesn't miss that block, the 49ers probably win the Super Bowl. Purdy would have either hit Jauan Jennings for the game-winner, making the receiver the leading choice for Super Bowl MVP. Or Purdy would have hit Aiyuk, who was wide open. If Aiyuk catches the Super Bowl winner, how would that have impacted his contract negotiations?

So what's your opinion on the 49ers Week 9 bye? Is it too early, too late, or just right in the season? - Ed H.

I think the bye week comes at a good time for the 49ers. Of course, it's hard to say for sure until you're in the season. But having it around the midway point is usually where you want it. If it's too early, it can hurt the team by wearing them down late in the season. If the bye week is too late, it can cause problems in the middle part of the season. So it's always nice to have it around the middle part of the season.

Where can I get my wife a Dan Bunz jersey? - Enja D.

Well, this is a question I wasn't expecting to read. I bet a Dan Bunz jersey would be hard to come by. But he did make a critical stop in Super Bowl XVI to help the 49ers win their first Lombardi, so there should be Bunz jerseys out there. I'd try Googling it. I did a quick search and found this. Or they could have some at the Team Store at Levi's Stadium. I doubt it, but it's worth checking out if you're in the area.

That's all we have for this mailbag. The next one will be during training camp. And it will be here before we know it. Thanks so much for all your questions!
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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