NFL Free Agency

Why recent NFL receiver deals don't mean Aiyuk, 49ers will part

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Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers still haven't agreed on a long-term contract extension, and even though other top-flight wide receivers recently finalized deals with their respective teams, that's no reason to believe San Francisco's top receiver will be traded soon without one.

Amon-Ra St. Brown became the latest wideout to land a new contract Wednesday. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported, citing sources, that St. Brown and the Detroit Lions had agreed to a four-year extension that includes more than $120 million in new money and $77 million guaranteed.

The Lions had more pressure to reach an agreement with St. Brown, a 2021 fourth-round draft pick and 2023 All-Pro, since he was set to make just $3.5 million in the final year of his rookie contract. Aiyuk, meanwhile, is scheduled to make $14.124 million in the final year of his deal as a 2020 first-round pick (No. 25 overall).

Ja'Marr Chase, a 2021 first-round pick, also had his fifth-year contract option exercised by the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday, meaning the three-time Pro Bowl receiver will make $21.8 million in the final season of his rookie deal. The 49ers exercised Aiyuk's fifth-year option last year, though for $7.7 million less, making him a relative bargain compared to the league's other top receivers.

Most notably, though, other star receivers who, like Aiyuk, were first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft haven't come to new agreements with their respective teams.

CeeDee Lamb, the No. 17 pick by the Dallas Cowboys, and Justin Jefferson, the No. 22 pick by the Minnesota Vikings, are set to play on their fifth-year options without extensions in place. Both are three-time Pro Bowl picks and first-team All-Pros (Jefferson in 2022 and Lamb in 2023)

Aiyuk, Lamb and Jefferson could be franchise-tagged by their respective teams in 2025, paying them $24.7 million for that season if they can't agree on an extension. So, any team that might propose a trade for one of them not only would need to offer a comparable first-round pick in the 2024 draft but also be willing to immediately pay a high salary.

Aiyuk might not be happy with the 49ers' offers, but there's still little precedent to suggest that Brock Purdy's No. 1 target will end up on another team's roster.

“With B.A., I've communicated on a couple occasions, on many occasions our wish,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Monday. “Our wish is that he's here and a part of the Niners for the rest of his career. We're working through that. I can say we're having good talks, and I'm just going to leave it at that."

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