Jauan Jennings

49ers Eyeing Extensions For WRs Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings

Brandon Aiyuk is the latest foundational homegrown 49ers player in line for a second contract with the team, and the possibility of one has long been a talking point. General manager John Lynch has offered a range of responses when asked about the subject previously, but he offered a notably firm response at the Combine.

Aiyuk has proven himself to be one of the league’s top young receivers over the past two seasons in particular. He enjoyed a career year in 2023, continuing to serve as a major factor in San Francisco’s passing attack while helping lead the team to the Super Bowl. The 25-year-old is on the books for $14.1MM in 2024 due to the 49ers’ decision to pick up his fifth-year option, but a multi-year deal is an obvious priority for the organization.

“He’s served us very well as a franchise, and I think we’ve got a nice track record of extending the players that are important to us,” Lynch said of Aiyuk when speaking at the Combine (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle). “Brandon is someone we want to keep around for a long time.”

Those remarks contrast to a degree with Lynch’s previous stance on the subject. The veteran executive noted the 49ers “can’t just be reckless” with their cap situation and the complications a new Aiyuk deal would create. San Francisco has fellow offensive stalwarts Trent Williams, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel under contract for multiple years, and Nick Bosa‘s historic extension will lead to major spikes in his cap hits down the road. A new deal for quarterback Brock Purdy (as early as next offseason) will of course include a major raise compared to his rookie pact.

Entering his age-26 season, Aiyuk will be able to command a new contract near the top of the receiver market; as such, he could join the list of 14 wideouts currently averaging at least $20MM per year. While retaining the Arizona State alum will therefore be a pricey endeavor, the 49ers are also interested in retaining fellow receiver Jauan Jennings. The latter is a pending restricted free agent, but Lynch noted it is his intention to keep him in place for at least 2024.

Jennings could be in line for the second-round RFA tender, which would cost $4.89MM and yield second-round compensation if he departed via an offer sheet. San Francisco could tender him at the original-round level ($3.12MM), but in that case an unmatched offer sheet would lead to only a seventh-rounder as compensation. Lynch noted a multi-year deal could be on the table, though, which would avoid the possibility of Jennings departing and ensure his place as a complimentary member of the offense for years to come.

Like all teams, the 49ers find themselves with added flexibility in 2024 thanks to the salary cap increase. The cap ceiling is set at $255.4MM, a much higher figure than teams were originally anticipating. That could make new deals for Aiyuk and Jennings more manageable in the short term, although they will still be expensive propositions in the former’s case in particular. It will be interesting to see how much urgency the 49ers proceed with on the extension front in the near future.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/23

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Teams with returning head coaches are now free to begin offseason workouts, leading to this high number of RFA and ERFA tenders being signed. Bryant and Reaves signed the low-end tender, while the Packers gave Nijman a second-round tender. Bryant and Reaves are tied to $2.62MM salaries; Nijman is attached to a $4.3MM number. Nijman has both played left and right tackle, settling in at the latter spot after the Packers moved Elgton Jenkins back to guard last season. ERFAs are two years from unrestricted free agency; RFAs are one year away.

An August shoulder injury cost Williams his 2022 season, but the former second-round pick was trending in the wrong direction with the Patriots. New England chose Williams 45th overall in 2019 but used him as a starter only once. New Vikings DC Brian Flores was no longer with the Pats when they drafted Williams, 25, but the team will take a flier on the Vanderbilt alum.

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/28/23

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Houston Texans

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Commanders

Jennings will be back with the 49ers in 2023. As an ERFA, the former seventh-round pick had limited options. Jennings, who caught 35 passes for 416 yards last season, entered the league as a 2020 draftee but did not play that season. The 49ers will have the option of keeping the young wide receiver through the 2024 campaign; Jennings will be eligible for restricted free agency next year.

RFA/ERFA Tender Signings: 4/19/22

Here’s a look at the latest tender signings from around the NFL:

RFAs

Signed:

ERFAs

Signed:

49ers Notes: Julio, Jones, Draft, Hurd

The 49ers were in the mix for Julio Jones, which would have reunited the All-Pro wide receiver with his former offensive coordinator. But Kyle Shanahan‘s team is not believed to have made a firm offer for the 10-year veteran, whom the Titans ended up acquiring. All four NFC West teams discussed Jones with the Falcons, and Shanahan — after losing out on Matthew Stafford when the Rams landed him — said he would have been more willing to part with higher-end assets if he believed the Rams were a true threat to land him.

That’s actually the most frustrating thing for me,” Shanahan said during his appearance on The Ringer’s Flying Coach podcast with Sean McVay and Peter Schrager (via RamsWire). “I always say, ‘Let’s do it the right way,’ which, there’s no right way or wrong way, but you don’t want to have to risk your future to compete in one year. And that’s the hardest thing about being in our division because I know how Sean rolls. That’s very similar to me. Julio would have helped everybody, but you know what it’s doing to your organization for that year and the years to come.

That’s a really risky thing, but man, if Sean’s getting him, I’m going to risk that. I know that’s how he thinks, that’s how we all think. You’ve got to compete with your division first.”

The Rams are frequently linked to big trades, having made a few since relocating, but the team’s Robert WoodsCooper KuppDeSean JacksonTutu Atwell wideout depth chart would have made Jones quite the expensive luxury. Here is more out of San Francisco:

  • Another for the “what if?” file: the 49ers did some thorough investigating on Mac Jones. Linked to the Alabama prospect up until draft day, the 49ers reached out to Jones’ high school quarterbacks coach — Kevin Fagan (not the ex-49ers D-lineman) — according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required). Jones and Lance became San Francisco’s final two candidates for their No. 3 overall pick, after the team traded two future first-round picks for the purposes of landing a QB at 3, but the team opted to go with the North Dakota State product.
  • The 49ers are eyeing a slot role for Jalen Hurd, if the former third-round pick can make it to the regular season — something the 2019 draftee has yet to do. As a bigger slot cog, at 230 pounds, Hurd sharing some tight end responsibilities in Shanahan’s scheme may well be on tap, according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows and David Lombardi. Hurd and former seventh-round pick Jauan Jennings are candidates for this hybrid position. This would be a way for the 49ers not to carry four true tight ends. A former running back at Tennessee who later transferred to Baylor and played wide receiver, Hurd missed his entire rookie season with a back injury and suffered an ACL tear last summer. Jennings, a Hurd teammate at Tennessee before the latter’s transfer, also has yet to play an NFL snap.
  • Although Daniel Brunskill started all 16 games at right guard last season, second-round pick Aaron Banks is expected to take over as the Niners’ first-stringer there this season.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/5/21

We’ll keep track of the latest reserve/futures deals here:

Carolina Panthers 

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/24/20

Here are Saturday’s practice squad decisions:

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Football Team

Johnathan Cyprien, Dion Jordan Land On 49ers’ Practice Squad

A 71-game starter throughout a seven-year career, Johnathan Cyprien expressed skepticism about joining the 49ers’ practice squad recently. Kyle Shanahan expressed intrigue about the opportunity to carry up to six experienced players on his 2020 practice squad. But the 49ers made the longtime safety one of their cuts Saturday, and he changed his tune.

Cyprien, 30, agreed to join San Francisco’s practice squad. He will make $12K per week for each week he is on the 49ers’ P-squad. Were he to be promoted to the active roster, that rate would change to at least the veteran minimum.

Cyprien was a full-time Jaguars starter for four seasons, from 2013-16, and started 10 games for the 2017 Titans. He has not been a regular first-stringer since, however. He will join former Bears top-10 pick Dion Jordan and Kevin White on the 49ers’ P-squad.

San Francisco signed White recently, but he did not make the active roster. The 49ers added Jordan this offseason as well. The former No. 3 overall pick played rotational roles with the Seahawks and Raiders over the past three seasons. While suspensions have defined the defensive end’s career, he will have another chance to stay with a team — albeit in unusual fashion.

Here is the 49ers’ full practice squad:

49ers Cut Dion Jordan, Kevin White

On Saturday, the 49ers put a pair of former first-round notables on the curb. Defensive end Dion Jordan and Kevin White were dropped from the roster as a part of the club’s 20+ cuts on Saturday. 

Jordan’s NFL career has taken some odd turns, to say the least. After being selected No. 3 overall by the Dolphins, Jordan did little to justify his pre-draft hype. After some underwhelming seasons, missed seasons, and a number of suspensions, Jordan found his way to the Seahawks in 2017. In 2018, he showed some promise as a rotational piece, and he parlayed that into a one-year deal with the Raiders. He hooked on with the Niners in early August, but he didn’t get to stay for long.

White, a former No. 7 overall pick of the Bears, came out of West Virginia with tons of hype. Over the last five years, injuries have limited him to just 14 games. The Niners have been decimated by injuries at wide receiver, but they still didn’t see enough out of White’s ~1 week audition to keep him. For his career, White has 25 catches for 285 yards and zero touchdowns.

Here’s the full rundown of the 49ers’ cuts:

49ers Sign Jauan Jennings

The 49ers have inked seventh-round pick Jauan Jennings, per a club announcement. Per the terms of his slot, the wide receiver is set to earn ~$3.4MM on his four-year deal. Of course, as the No. 217 overall pick, it’s not a certainty that he’ll make the roster.

[RELATED: 49ers’ Deebo Samuel Suffers Broken Foot]

Jennings was the second wide receiver selected in April, long after first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk. Jennings didn’t come into the draft with the same sort of fanfare, but he was an accomplished player in his own right. In his final year at Tennessee, the 6’3″ receiver finished out with 59 receptions for 969 yards and eight touchdowns.

Jennings has shown that he can break tackles with his big frame, but his lack of speed impacted his stock somewhat. Still, you don’t need to beat every defender if you’re able to plow through some of them. Jennings will look to impress coaches with his power as he pushes to make a group that could be without Deebo Samuel for a little while.

Here’s the full rundown of the Niners’ class, via PFR’s tracker:

1-14: Javon Kinlaw, DT (South Carolina)
1-25: Brandon Aiyuk, WR (Arizona State)
5-153: Colton McKivitz, T (West Virginia): Signed
6-190: Charlie Woerner, TE (Georgia)
7-217: Jauan Jennings, WR (Tennessee): Signed