Justin Jefferson holds the keys to a Brandon Aiyuk extension

Brandon Aiyuk wants to be among the highest-paid wide receivers in the league, but it'd be in his best interest to wait for another top receiver to sign his own lucrative extension first.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The 49ers would prefer to sign Brandon Aiyuk to an extension now, but the wide receiver may want to see how the market plays out for other top wideouts first.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk wants to get paid this offseason.

Deservedly so. The 2020 first-round NFL Draft pick out of Arizona State led the Niners in receiving yards the last two seasons, and he's clearly a major reason for the success quarterback Brock Purdy has enjoyed since taking the league by storm late in 2022.

San Francisco knows this. Preferably, especially considering their own salary cap restrictions and the fact Purdy's own lucrative contract extension is just a year away, the 49ers would sign Aiyuk to an affordable extension now.

But Aiyuk would probably prefer to wait it out.

The market for wide receiver contracts has exploded in recent years with many of the league's top pass-catchers earning north of an average of $24 million per season.

Yet Aiyuk would probably be wise to wait for another contract extension to drop before he ultimately decides to put pen to paper with the Niners.

One that'll likely be the biggest deal in NFL history for a wide receiver.

Brandon Aiyuk should wait for Justin Jefferson's NFL-record extension

Aiyuk can afford to be patient. He's under contract on his fully guaranteed fifth-year option in 2024, and San Francisco wouldn't likely fine him if he opts not to partake in training camp, simiilar to how the 49ers handled edge Nick Bosa's own extension a year ago at this time.

Instead, Aiyuk should wait for the Minnesota Vikings' All-Pro, Justin Jefferson, to ink his own lucrative extension, one that'll assuredly make him the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history.

ESPN's Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler recently reported that Jefferson's extension will likely be worth more than $30 million, annually, which surpasses the only player who's currently earning $30 million per year, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

Jefferson reportedly turned down a $30-plus million per-year offer last offseason, meaning his high-water mark will completely reshape the market for wide receivers in 2024 and beyond.

Aiyuk wants to see how that plays out.

While Aiyuk isn't on the same level as Jefferson and won't command anything significantly higher than $30 million per year, knowing what the Vikings star will earn can surely help Aiyuk's own negotiations.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio (h/t 49ers Webzone) elaborated:

"$30 to $32 million, I don't know about that. ... I don't think Brandon Aiyuk can get to 30, at least not now. And there's value to him in letting Justin Jefferson and [Bengals wide receiver] Ja'Marr Chase set the next bar, and then you try to come in somewhere under it."

On the flip side, the Niners would likely prefer to get a deal done sooner than later, locking up Aiyuk on a new contract that would be in a much more affordable range, perhaps $24 million, annually.

For Aiyuk, though, his interest would be in allowing the wide receiver market to reset itself, which would likely result in a significant spike in what teams have to pay for top-level weapons at the position.

Aiyuk can (and should) wait this one out to see how it plays out.

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