49ers (and Brandon Aiyuk) can rejoice at massive NFL salary cap increase

There's a much stronger chance of Brandon Aiyuk securing his bag with the 49ers now that the 2024 salary cap jumped considerably.

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (L) and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (R)
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (L) and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (R) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The NFL made a sizable increase to its salary cap for 2024, which frees up money for the 49ers and makes it easier to extend Brandon Aiyuk.

No team is going to complain about the NFL raising the salary cap.

Especially teams that are either pressed up against the cap or over it, like the San Francisco 49ers.

Not long ago, the Niners were projected by Over the Cap to be roughly $12 million over the 2024 salary cap. That meant general manager John Lynch and Co. would have to engineer extensions, restructures and cap casualties to get underneath the cap by the start of the league new year in March.

And it's very possible those efforts would come at the cost of both retaining and extending star wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who led all of San Francisco's pass-catchers with 1,342 yards last season. As quarterback Brock Purdy's favorite target, it makes plenty of sense why the 49ers would want Aiyuk locked up.

Aiyuk, entering the fully guaranteed fifth-year option of his rookie contract, is eligible for a contract extension, though. And those talks could get ugly, especially if the Niners weren't in a position to meet his contractual demands.

However, with recent league-wide salary cap news, San Francisco should be in a notably better position to extend Aiyuk while not neglecting other areas of need.

NFL announces $30 million salary cap increase for 2024

On Friday, news broke that the NFL was increasing the 2024 salary cap up to $255.4 million, which is up $30 million over last year's ceiling.

Including other factors, OTC now has the 49ers at $834,165 under the salary cap, although it's important to acknowledge that number will change as extensions, restructures and cap casualties come into play over the next few weeks.

But, as ESPN's Nick Wagoner pointed out, the Niners can "make some moves to free up space but they won't have to go crazy to do so."

How Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers benefit from NFL salary cap increase

Aiyuk's $14.124 million cap hit for 2024 is fully guaranteed. He'll get that money. But, with an extension, that amount can be spread out over the life of the new deal while generating a notable amount of cap savings in the process.

$10.4 million in cap savings this year, per OTC.

With the cap only expected to increase in 2025 and beyond, Aiyuk can get his deal without endangering San Francisco's ability to be aggressive enough now.

Sure, Lynch and Co. will need to restructure a few more deals and will likely part ways with some on-roster players to free up some cash. But the $10-plus million saved by an Aiyuk extension will afford enough money to both sign the 49ers' 2024 rookie NFL Draft class and land an impact free agent or two.

It's a win-win for both sides.

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