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How the 49ers can compromise with Brandon Aiyuk

Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers are at a stalemate.

Aiyuk wants a contract extension worth about $30 million per season, while the 49ers have reportedly offered him an extension worth about $26 million per season, which is quite a lot of money, but not enough to make Aiyuk happy.

Still, it doesn’t seem like the 49ers and Aiyuk are extremely far apart. They’re essentially negotiating $4 million per season, which is a lot to you and me, but not a lot in the NFL. They must be able to reach an agreement before the season starts. Here’s how they can compromise.

Aiyuk’s ego clearly won’t allow him to accept anything less than $30 million per season. He’s taken a backseat to the 49ers offense for years and now he wants his validation. So the 49ers have to give it to him.

Offer him a contract extension that’s technically worth $30 million per season so he can puff up his chest and tell the world he’s in the upper echelon of wide receivers. But structure the contract so that it is team-friendly. Give Aiyuk all the guaranteed money up front in 2024 and 2025 so they can cut him in 2026 if his production doesn’t match his salary.

That’s what the Lions did with Amon-Ra St. Brown. Technically his extension is worth $30 million per season, but his deal isn’t guaranteed beyond 2025, so Detroit could easily release him if the need arises.

I expect the 49ers to offer Aiyuk a similar deal in a month or two and he will accept it.

Stay tuned.

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