49ers covet Brandon Aiyuk, but can pay him in 2024?

This week, 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk stated he wants to stay "if that’s the right move." This week, the club expressed interest in keeping him. The question is if the parties can reach a new contract compromise.

“You must prioritize all these things," G.M. John Lynch told reporters Tuesday. Brandon has a fifth-year option. Brandon's a great player for us. Kyle [Shanahan] calls him a warrior because of how he competes. That shows.

Fans and experts can sense his enthusiasm in play. His productivity is visible. He should be as proud as we are of his accomplishments. So your squad has veterans who've been paid well and guys who want to be paid highly. One key player on our squad can't be paid handsomely because of the CBA. So it's one giant conundrum.

Kyle and I've established a solid season-focused rhythm throughout the years. We arrange and convey to him before working through it. This will continue. You want Brandon Aiyuk to join you in the future."

A puzzle, yes. One year remains until quarterback Brock Purdy can be re-signed. They also invested heavily in offensive talents including running back Christian McCaffrey, receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, and tackle Trent Williams. McCaffrey should want a raise this offseason.

Aiyuk's place? His 2024 salary is $14.1 million. That's below market value for a second-team All Pro who had a career-high 1,342 receiving yards, 300 more than Kittle and 400 more than Samuel.

The 49ers may be tempted to extend it for another year at little cost. Then what? The 49ers may have to make tough judgments concerning experienced players like Kittle (whose cap number is $21 million this year) and Samuel (whose cap figure is $28.6 million).

If they pay Aiyuk now, they may lose one of the others. If they wait, they may keep the group together another year.

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