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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers insider unsure about Brandon Aiyuk’s future

Jul 8, 2024 at 4:39 PM

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Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area has repeatedly expressed uncertainty regarding the future of Brandon Aiyuk with the San Francisco 49ers. Aiyuk is seeking a contract extension to make him one of the NFL's highest-paid wide receivers. However, progress in negotiations appears to be stalled, with both sides reportedly at a stalemate.

Maiocco recently joined Marc Adams and Anthony Robertson on "The Red and Bold Show" to discuss the Aiyuk situation, emphasizing that an agreement is far from guaranteed.

If Aiyuk and the 49ers can't reach an agreement, the wide receiver might have to play on the team-exercised fifth-year option, which will pay him $14.124 million. The two sides would then likely reassess the situation next year.

"When you're at a certain spot in your roster building, if you have a good player—and it doesn't even necessarily have to be at a premium position—come up for a new contract, you pay him," Maiocco stated. "If you like him, you pay him."

The 49ers are in a unique situation, though. Maiocco reminds fans that the 49ers have paid market value for star players in each of the past four seasons, including wide receiver Deebo Samuel in 2022. The team also restructured running back Christian McCaffrey's contract this offseason.

Additionally, the 49ers extended wide receiver Jauan Jennings' contract and used a first-round draft pick to add Ricky Pearsall. All of this comes while knowing that quarterback Brock Purdy will become the team's highest-paid player next year, consuming a significant portion of the salary cap.

"At some point, if your roster is full of really good players, you can't continue to pay market value," Maiocco continued. "It just doesn't work."

Signing Aiyuk to a massive contract extension likely signals Samuel's departure after the upcoming season. It's unlikely the 49ers can afford to pay top-tier money to two wideouts while also paying top-tier quarterback money.

"So at some point, behind the scenes, [EVP of football operations] Paraag Marathe is running the numbers and saying, 'Okay, here's the scenario. We can keep Brandon Aiyuk, but it might mean that, a year from now, [CB] Deommodore Lenoir, [CB] Charvarius Ward, [LB] Dre Greenlaw, [G] Aaron Banks, those guys are gone,'" Maiocco remarked.

This has lowered Maiocco's confidence that a deal will get done.

"This year, I can see where they have to make a decision, and I think it's a logical and reasonable decision that they could make that, 'Hey, instead of re-signing Aiyuk for this number, let's re-sign these guys, multiple guys, and let Aiyuk walk now,'" Maiocco noted.

Maiocco went as far as to state that he puts the odds of the 49ers signing Aiyuk to an extension at around 50/50. However, he is confident that Aiyuk will remain in the Bay Area in 2024, whether on the fifth-year option or a negotiated deal.

"And then, what I would see is the 49ers would then, again, if they don't get this multi-year extension done with him, they would franchise him at the end of the season and probably trade him at that point," Maiocco concluded.

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