Report: 49ers expected to address Aiyuk extension after free agency

NBC Sports Bay Area

Another 49ers offseason, another contract extension saga — this time, for wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

But San Francisco has an excellent track record of paying its proven stars what they deserve, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport doesn’t believe that will change with Aiyuk.

“My understanding is obviously there are teams who would love to trade for the very, very talented young receiver,” Rapoport said Sunday on NFL Network. “The 49ers firmly believe he is in their plans; I would expect them to get to work on a new deal for him, probably after free agency.”

Rapoport’s report is on par with how the 49ers have operated in the past when it came to extensions for their best players, including George Kittle, Fred Warner, Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa — all of whom signed their new contracts close to or after the start of training camp.

And with plenty to decide on currently, from the 2024 NFL Draft to improving the team in free agency, it makes sense that general manager John Lynch would want to take care of business in a specific order.

But even though the 49ers have had no trouble paying their players in recent offseasons, Aiyuk, who is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, left his future with San Francisco open as he answered questions from local reporters during locker clean-out day two days after Super Bowl LVIII.

“If that’s the right move, yeah,” Aiyuk responded when asked if he hopes to remain with the 49ers moving forward, before noting that right move would look like “being a champion.”

Lynch, however, has made it perfectly clear where the 49ers stand.

“Brandon’s one that we think incredibly highly of,” Lynch said this past week at the NFL Scouting Combine. “One of my favorite just guys around our building, the way he approaches the game. He’s a competitor. He’s a warrior. He plays with such a physicality, also with a grace, the way some of the positions his body can get into.

“And then he’s got a flair for making plays when it matters most. And he served us very well as a franchise. And I think we’ve got a nice track record of extending the players that are important to us, and Brandon’s a guy we want to keep around for a long time.”

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