Ricky Pearsall

How Pearsall benefits with Aiyuk, Jennings not at 49ers practices

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SANTA CLARA — Rookie wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, the 49ers’ first-round pick, came to the team in the recent draft with three veterans ahead of him on the depth chart.

But at the opening of organized team activities this week, Pearsall found himself a couple spots higher.

Pearsall is getting the benefit of additional practice reps alongside starting quarterback Brock Purdy with Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings not on the practice field.

“I always think the more reps you get, the more experience you get, the more different situations you can be put in, if you’re talented enough and made of the right stuff, you will only get better,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Tuesday.

“But sometimes it’s difficult to generate that, especially in practice when it’s not full speed all the time. The more reps you can get out of it always helps.”

Aiyuk and Jennings have not been taking part in the 49ers’ voluntary offseason program due to contract issues.

Aiyuk is scheduled to play this season on the fifth-year option with a scheduled salary of $14.1 million. The sides are working toward a contract extension that would be expected to pay Aiyuk among the top wide receivers in the NFL. Aiyuk was the subject of trade speculation last month around the time of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Jennings was a restricted free agent this offseason, and the 49ers tendered him at the second-round level at one season for $4.89 million. The deadline for other teams to sign Jennings an offer sheet has passed, so Jennings no longer has the ability to negotiate with other teams.

Jennings has yet to sign his contract with the 49ers and likely is pursuing a multi-year contract extension.

When asked about Jennings’ status, Shanahan kept his answer purposely vague.

“It’s voluntary [workouts], so there is no status, yet,” Shanahan said.

Jennings caught just 19 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown in 13 games last season, so the door is open for Pearsall to replace him as the 49ers’ No. 3 receiver.

Jennings finished his season strong with a big game in the 49ers’ 25-22 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII. Jennings caught four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown and also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to running back Christian McCaffrey.

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