For now, the 49ers have assembled a star-studded roster on both sides of the ball, but it might not be sustainable to keep this core together for the long term.
Many people are already forecasting that the 49ers will have to make a tough decision on their wide receivers, as Brandon Aiyuk will be up for an extension next summer as Deebo Samuel continues to play out the three-year, $71.5 million contract he signed last year. Longtime NFL insider Peter King joined 95.7 The Game’s “Willard & Dibs” to discuss the upcoming salary crunch for the 49ers in 2024.
“I would be surprised if they were able to pay both guys at or near the top of the receiver market when the bill comes due for ‘em. Surprised but not shocked, because (49ers executives) John Lynch, Adam Peters and Paraag Marathe, they do a good job of understanding where everybody fits in the cap world. But I’m not positive they’ll be able to sign both of those guys.”
King points to other teams who had salary cap casualties recently, like the Philadelphia Eagles letting running back Miles Sanders go to keep other key players on the roster. The Niners have locked up players like Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, George Kittle, Christian McCaffrey and Deebo – but they can’t keep everyone if they want to keep paying market value.
While Aiyuk set a career-high with 129 yards on eight catches in the season opener, Deebo has looked like a motivated player after last year’s disappointment. King said Deebo is still a special player in the league.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in the game right now that’s really similar to him,” King said.