Offseason storylines 49ers fans are already sick of hearing about

These kinds of storylines make Niners fans wish the regular season was here already.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (L) and quarterback Brock Purdy (R)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (L) and quarterback Brock Purdy (R) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The 49ers have mostly stayed out of the spotlight this offseason, although these storylines have grown tiresome.

NFL offseasons can be challenging to write about. The news cycle can be slow and sporadic, but that doesn't mean those in the media can simply take a break.

So, when news does pop up, it tends to command all kinds of attention, especially during the offseason doldrum between the draft and training camp. Stories that otherwise seem inconsequential during the regular season often get blown out of proportion during slower months.

The San Francisco 49ers, who haven't experienced much controversy in 2024, are still not immune to this cycle.

Granted, we're guilty of it here, too. But these offseason storylines and narratives are admittedly growing old, forcing all of us to wish the regular season was finally upon us.

No. 1: Will 49ers trade or extend Brandon Aiyuk?

The offseason saga between the Niners and their star wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, has been the top talking point for the franchise.

Aiming to command a deal worth $30 million, annually, Aiyuk has already claimed San Francisco doesn't "want me," which was later refuted by multiple insiders amid reports the 49ers are looking at offers in the range of $26 million per year.

If the standoff continues, talk of the possibility of the Niners trading Aiyuk will continue, and it has.

What makes it tiring, though, is the fact Aiyuk is still under contract through 2024, and San Francisco is a top Super Bowl contender that couldn't get anything of value in return that would help those immediate championship prospects.

Until a deal is reached, though, this tiresome storyline won't go away.

No. 2: Is Brock Purdy good or merely a byproduct of his surroundings?

A year from now, the 49ers will face another challenging extension situation with their quarterback, Brock Purdy, which could be in the range of $50 million, annually.

In the interim, questions surrounding Purdy will continue to center on whether or not he's the "real deal."

Despite a record-setting 2023 campaign, his first as a full-time starter, the final pick of the 2022 draft still has his detractors who argue Purdy is merely a system quarterback, aided fully by a star-studded offensive cast and a QB-friendly system under head coach Kyle Shanahan instead of by the quarterback's own abilities and merits.

Never mind the fact Purdy has given Shanahan his first legitimate centerpiece under center since 2017.

Can we all just let Purdy play his game?

No. 3: How will the 49ers manage the salary cap?

Here's a good lesson. Good teams, of which the Niners are one, are comprised of good players. And good players tend to be more expensive than bad ones. The more good players on a roster, the higher the cost will be.

And there's this thing called a salary cap.

Cap constraints are real, and an increasingly expensive San Francisco roster has forced some tough decisions, including the offseason choice to release veteran defensive tackle Arik Armstead in a cap-saving move.

That said, looking ahead to 2025 where Over the Cap has the 49ers at $37 million above the projected salary cap, it's easy to panic. Especially with the knowledge that pending extensions for both Aiyuk and Purdy are going to be expensive.

But the Niners were in a not-so-different situation entering 2024, too. Thanks to multiple offseason transactions, including Armstead's release and other extensions, San Francisco became cap compliant and now sits at $32.7 million under the cap this year.

The 49ers will figure it out next season.

No. 4: Why did the 49ers reach on Ricky Pearsall in the NFL Draft?

Nearly two months removed from the 2024 NFL Draft, fans and pundits alike are wondering why the Niners didn't use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman or a cornerback, two of the team's more pressing offseason needs.

Instead, San Francisco grabbed wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, a prospect many tabbed as a Round 2 target.

The question marks are understandable. The 49ers already have Aiyuk and fellow wideout Deebo Samuel, and they also extended third wide receiver Jauan Jennings, making the Pearsall selection seem like a luxury pick.

But general manager John Lynch already went on record saying there were no offensive linemen or cornerbacks they liked at No. 31, and the early reports on Pearsall from offseason workouts have been promising anyway.

It's not as if the Niners can go back and undo the Pearsall selection. Instead, it's time to see if the rookie can eventually turn into a bona fide offensive weapon in due time.

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