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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers confident Brandon Aiyuk contract gets done; Charvarius Ward’s future uncertain

May 29, 2024 at 10:01 AM

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ESPN's Nick Wagoner recently analyzed the situations of two San Francisco 49ers players set to become free agents next year, revealing that each might face very different paths. Brandon Aiyuk has yet to rejoin his teammates for organized team activities, which shouldn't come as a surprise. As the team's leading receiver last season, he is seeking a contract extension and is unlikely to hit the practice field again until a lucrative deal is agreed upon.

"Like some of the other 49ers stars before him (George Kittle, Fred Warner, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa), patience might again be the operative word," Wagoner wrote in the feature for ESPN. "The current Niners regime has almost always gotten deals like these done, but not until later in the summer, with Bosa's not being finalized until days before last year's season opener."

Aiyuk is coming off his second consecutive season surpassing the 1,000-yard mark, earning a career-best 1,342 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Wagoner added, "A deal doesn't appear to be imminent, but the 49ers remain confident something will get done to keep Aiyuk for the long haul."

Charvarius Ward finds himself in a much different situation. He, too, seeks a big payday after signing a three-year deal with the 49ers in 2022. The cornerback is entering the final year of that contract.

"The [contract] I'm currently on right now, that's been my biggest deal so far—three-year, 40-something million," Ward recently shared. "But I just got to go out there, have my best year, be better than last year. I'll let that go take care of itself. Yeah, hopefully, I get that bag next year. We'll see."

With Aiyuk's impending deal on the horizon, Wagoner doesn't predict that the 49ers will address Ward's contract this offseason. That means the cornerback will likely have to play out the 2024 season for a chance to cash in next offseason. Whether that will be with the 49ers or elsewhere remains to be seen.

"Ward also is coming off a core muscle injury that required surgery, and he isn't expected to be back on the field until training camp -- all of which makes a wait-and-see approach the most likely path," Wagoner notes.
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