49ers Make Decisions On The Future Of Their Two 2020 1st Round Picks, Only 1 Will Stay

Brandon Aiyuk

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The San Francisco 49ers have exercised the 2024 fifth-year option on the contract of wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk’s contract, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Aiyuk has had a bit of a rocky road with head coach Kyle Shanahan in recent seasons, but he made significant strides in 2022, becoming the team’s number two receiver and putting up impressive numbers with 78 receptions for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns.

Although there were some doubts about whether the 49ers would keep Aiyuk on board given the earlier parts of his career, the team has shown faith in him by exercising his option.

If the team doesn’t sign Aiyuk to a new contract before next offseason, he will count $14 million against the 2024 cap. Aiyuk was the 25th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he has quickly become a valuable asset for the team.

In March, rumors circulated that other teams were interested in acquiring Aiyuk via trade. However, the 49ers made it clear that they have no intention of parting ways with him. Aiyuk’s strong performance in 2022, along with his potential for even greater success in the future, make him a key part of the team’s plans.

The San Francisco 49ers’ receiving corps has been strengthened by Aiyuk’s emergence alongside Deebo Samuel. The two make up one of the best receiver duos in the NFL, and their chemistry on the field is a major asset for the team. With Aiyuk in line for a big payday in the near future, the team is well positioned to continue building around its talented receiving corps.

Uncertain Future

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers have declined to exercise the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw’s contract.

Kinlaw was drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft to replace DeForest Buckner, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts ahead of the 2020 season. However, Kinlaw has struggled to make an impact on the field, starting just 10 regular-season games in the past two years.

Kinlaw’s performance has been underwhelming, with a Pro Football Focus grade that has yet to exceed 55 in three seasons. In 2022, he had a particularly poor PFF run defense grade of 28.8. Although it’s possible that he could rebound in 2023 at full health, the 49ers have decided not to take the risk of guaranteeing him big money in 2024 based on his performance thus far.

While Kinlaw’s potential remains a question mark, the 49ers are counting on Aiyuk to continue to thrive as a key player on the team. With his fifth-year option now exercised, the stage is set for him to continue making strides in the seasons to come.