What's the latest regarding Brandon Aiyuk's contract extension with 49ers?

Are there reasons to panic because Brandon Aiyuk and the Niners haven't come to terms on a new contract extension?

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers don't appear close to agreeing on a contract extension, but is that a cause for concern?

The San Francisco 49ers have been here before.

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has not.

Aiyuk is the latest in a line of star Niners players who have reached a point where they are seeking lucrative contract extensions. After leading San Francisco in receiving yards for back-to-back seasons, the 27-year-old Aiyuk certainly deserves to get paid more than what he was previously receiving on his rookie contract, one that was originally signed after he was drafted in 2020 and will pay out a fully guaranteed $14.124 million on his fifth-year option in 2024.

In recent years, the 49ers have dealt with contractual standoffs for other stars, including defensive end Nick Bosa last year and fellow wideout Deebo Samuel the offseason prior to that.

Some controversy surrounded both Bosa and Samuel with respect to their deals, including Samuel's request for a trade amid his own extension talks.

But, ultimately, both players received new deals. For Bosa, he became the highest-paid defender in NFL history after securing a Defensive Player of the Year award.

Aiyuk isn't necessarily in that category. Yet he will want to be paid like a top receiver. And that's led to speculation about the Niners potentially trading the former first-round NFL Draft pick if no deal can be reached.

Is San Francisco imminently close to making a decision one way or another?

Mike Garafolo on Brandon Aiyuk extension: 'Well, we're not close'

Speaking late last week on NFL Total Access, NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo (h/t 49ers Webzone) reported that Aiyuk and the 49ers have had some initial extension discussions but aren't close to making a new deal:

"Where are we? Well, we're not close. And they have made a recent run at it, from my understanding. It's not like they haven't had any discussions. They have had preliminary discussions. You saw John Lynch say that Brandon Aiyuk could play in the fifth-year option and play out his deal. They're comfortable with that.

Then you've got Aiyuk doing the little finger thing (with emojis on Instagram) saying, "Hey, I could walk." Basically, it's a little bit of a standoff right now. Now look, this is not where the Deebo Samuel thing was. And as bad as that got with Samuel basically requesting a trade, they were still able to salvage that.

So, let's not panic here. Let's not freak out. And maybe if it gets to the point where there's some offseason workouts and OTAs and Brandon Aiyuk does a little finger emoji saying, "Yeah, I'm going to be walking the other way instead of going to those voluntary workouts.""

This is where the Bosa comparison comes into play. During his fifth-year option season, he opted to skip not only voluntary offseason workouts, but he also skipped mandatory minicamp and the start of training camp.

Because of the fully guaranteed nature of his contract, the Niners didn't fine Bosa for attending those mandatory sessions.

Aiyuk could, in theory, do the same.

"[Aiyuk] does love the 49ers, from my understanding," Garafolo continued. "And he knows this is a team that is taking care of their guys when it's their turn, and there's no reason he feels like he shouldn't be next. He believes he's one of the top wide receivers in the league, so he expects to be paid in that realm. And the 49ers are not quite there at this point. So I think we've got some time before this one gets settled either way."

Like Samuel, there could be some in-draft trade speculation that takes place during Round 1, provided San Francisco absolutely knows it couldn't get close to Aiyuk's asking price.

Also like Samuel, once the first round wraps up, the likelihood of any Aiyuk trade would diminish significantly.

It's also very likely that a deal winds up being hammered out at some point between the draft in late April and the beginning of training camp in late July.

That'd be the likeliest of timeframes.

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