Looking into 49ers' rookie extension candidates and what they might get

Brandon Aiyuk is one big name eligible for an extension, but what about some of the other Niners who are entering the final year of their rookie contracts?

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (L) and left guard Aaron Banks (R)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (L) and left guard Aaron Banks (R) / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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The 49ers have a few players who could potentially receive extensions while entering the final year of their rookie contracts. What might they get?

Understandably, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is commanding the most attention with speculation about what the San Francisco 49ers may do regarding his potential contract extension.

Aiyuk is the Niners' best pure wide receiver, yet general manager John Lynch is already $12 million above the salary cap. While quarterback Brock Purdy is still a year removed from getting what'll likely be a massive contract extension of his own, thereby lessening Lynch's cap concerns for now, San Francisco is still quite handcuffed with what it can do for extensions elsewhere.

Aside from Aiyuk, the 49ers probably want to extend a number of their other key players who are entering the final year of their respective rookie deals.

Lynch has publicly made clear that the Niners prefer to negotiate extensions with players a year before their contracts expire. For those recalling the team's 2021 NFL Draft class, here are those who are still left on the roster:

  • OL Aaron Banks
  • CB Ambry Thomas
  • OL Jaylon Moore
  • CB Deommodore Lenoir
  • DB Talanoa Hufanga
  • RB Elijah Mitchell

Paired with Aiyuk, a 2020 first-round draftee entering his fully guaranteed fifth-year option, Lynch may look to extend a handful of those names who are entering year four on their own deals.

But, who would get extended, and how much would they likely receive?

Which players will 49ers not extend?

San Francisco rewards its top superstars and will occasionally offer good money to solid B-list names, too. But there's essentially one "household" name among this group, Hufanga.

Under normal circumstances, Hufanga would be an ideal extend candidate. However, coming off an ACL tear midway through the 2023 season, it seems more likely that Lynch and Co. opt to let him play out the final year of his contract to see if he's fully recovered instead of committing long term while he's still injured.

Moore is a role player, while Thomas has shown little to convince the 49ers he's a long-term option.

Mitchell, meanwhile, has his talents but also comes with a lengthy injury list.

Don't expect any of these players to engage in extension talks this offseason.