Will the 49ers Make Brandon Aiyuk Play Out his Fifth Year Option?

Remember, they made Mike McGlinchey play out his fifth-year option.
Feb 5, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) during Super
Feb 5, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) during Super / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers don't necessarily have to give Brandon Aiyuk everything he wants.

He's a fantastic player, and if he were an unrestricted free agent, he most likely could sign a contract that's worth more than $27 million per season. But he's not an unrestricted free agent. Technically, he has one year left on his rookie contract, and if he doesn't give the 49ers a slight discount, they might force him to play on his fifth-year option, which would pay him roughly $14 million next season, or half of what he wants.

Then in 2025, if the 49ers want to be really petty, instead of extending Aiyuk's contract, they could give him the one-year franchise tag, which would pay him roughly $21 million next year -- still less than what he'd be worth on the open market. So the 49ers have all the leverage and can play hardball if they choose to.

Remember, they made Mike McGlinchey play out his fifth-year option. They drafted with the ninth pick in 2018, and they didn't extend his contract after four years. In fact, they eventually let him leave, which was shrewd.

The only first-round pick whose contract the 49ers have extended since Kyle Shanahan has been the head coach is Nick Bosa, and Bosa was coming off a Defensive Player of the Year Award. Aiyuk doesn't have nearly that good of a resume. So he can ask for whatever he wants or even request a trade, but ultimately he'll have to take what the 49ers give him.


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Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN