Who is the next 49ers player to cash in after Nick Bosa's record deal?

The San Francisco 49ers can finally breathe for the 2023 season after re-signing Nick Bosa to a massive deal. But who's next?
San Francisco 49ers wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk (L) and Deebo Samuel (R)
San Francisco 49ers wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk (L) and Deebo Samuel (R) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Nick Bosa and the 49ers made history with a record-breaking deal. Which Niners player will be next, though? Niner Noise explains why it'll be Brandon Aiyuk.

The dust has settled. Nerves are calmed. And the San Francisco 49ers Faithful are sleeping with smiles on their faces after EDGE Nick Bosa re-signed with the team until 2029.

Time to burst the bubble and snap back to reality. Let's look ahead to the next few offseasons. There are a few notable names whose contracts expire in 2024 and 2025, like defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (2024), defensive end Arik Armstead (2025) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw (2025). All are well deserving of thicker wallets in the near future, but none will come close to someone who's about to take the league by storm.

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has been making a name for himself since being drafted by the Niners in 2020. Over the course of his three-year career, his stats have skyrocketed in a run-heavy system, oh, and with "wide back" Deebo Samuel on the other side.

2022 saw Aiyuk eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau, a career-high in touchdowns with eight, and he also increased his targets and receptions and has overall become a valuable asset to San Francisco.

Aiyuk is entering his fourth season on a four-year deal. A fifth-year option is available, but an extension will most likely be agreed to before then. This current deal is also fully guaranteed, which means he's cashing in over $12 million over the course of four years.

If he has another 1,000-yard season and hits the double digits in touchdowns, you can expect larger numbers on his next deal.

By the sounds of it, he's certainly interested in sticking around the Bay Area:

What could a new deal look like?

Aiyuk started the 2023 season with a two-touchdown, 129-yard performance in the Niners' Week 1 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. If he's able to keep this pace up, he could be in for a giant pay raise. The 49ers have been freeing up a substantial amount of cap space recently:

For this year, BA's cap hit is just under $4 million. Other players with a stat line like his are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Chris Godwin, who's making $8.6 million, and the Jacksonville Jaguars' Christian Kirk, who had around 100 yards more receiving last season and is now making $11.4 million.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Brown and Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans are currently the highest-paid in their position with cap hits of just under $30 million each. Both are well deserving of these contracts, especially Evans, who's never had a season under 1,000 yards in his career.

This is where general manager John Lynch needs to decide just how much he thinks Aiyuk deserves. Despite creating a lot of room to #PayAiyuk, depending on how this year and potentially next go, quarterback Brock Purdy will also want to cash in.

Ideally, the 49ers will give Aiyuk somewhere between $15 million per year to possibly hitting the low $20 million. This is a substantial upgrade going from his rookie contract to his first time at the negotiation table. He's a rising star and is certainly making a name for himself. But if you compare him to the others making well over $18 million to $30 million, and he's just slightly under them.

Not a bad thing when the 49ers are literally stacked with playmakers on every side of the ball.

Consistency is key for Aiyuk. As long as he and Purdy can keep connecting and improving as the 2023 season continues, the wideout could be one of the highest-paid receivers.

But even if he sticks to his stats from last season, he's still well deserving of a $15 million (or so) contract.

How long will the contract be?

San Francisco would want him for a long time. A team-friendly deal would be huge for the contracts Lynch needs to shell out over the next five years. But Aiyuk could want to test free agency in three years time.

Going back to his "We'll see" comment, you can bet he wants to be a 49er for a while. Lynch and company will certainly do anything in their power to make it happen.

Contract stats are from spotrac.com unless otherwise stated.

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