49ers Predicted to Add WR to Compete with Brandon Aiyuk in 2024

The San Francisco 49ers have a critical situation with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk as he seeks a pay raise and extension.

Aiyuk certainly deserves it after his past two seasons, but whether or not the 49ers actually give him the money is still up in the air.

But as difficult as a situation like this can be, Bleacher Report writer Brad Gagnon thinks San Francisco should turn up the heat.

There is a plethora of talented pass-catchers in this year’s draft class, and Gagnon believes taking a WR early could insure the 49ers whether or not Aiyuk sticks around long-term.

“Aiyuk seems frustrated by the impasse in negotiations, but the team appears intent on keeping him around,” Gagnon wrote on April 6.

“With rosters largely solidified around the league, the Niners might feel as though they don’t need to commit to Aiyuk beyond next season as of yet.

“This draft is loaded with intriguing receivers. The Niners should take one early and see how both he and Aiyuk perform in 2024.”

San Francisco already has Deebo Samuel and George Kittle as Aiyuk’s leading receiving partners. This is not to mention that RB Christian McCaffrey finished with the second-most receiving yards for an RB in 2023 (564).

Having an overload of weapons for Brock Purdy is a good idea, but adding another WR could be a waste of resources.

For starters, it’s hard to see where a new WR can find opportunities in the 49ers offense. Kyle Shanahan prides himself on spreading the ball out and getting guys open, but even he may struggle to fit in another WR.

For the second consecutive season, Aiyuk led the 49ers in receiving yards. His 17.9 yards per reception was the highest among qualified receivers, and he has solidified himself as the downfield threat.

Samuel and McCaffrey dominate the short-yardage passing game, totaling 1456 receiving yards between themselves. Finally, Kittle takes over the intermediate areas and is coming off his best season in years.

And when factoring in Jauan Jennings as the current No. 3 WR on roster, there are 5 clear-cut options. A new WR, even a talented first-rounder, would probably have trouble finding opportunities as a No. 6 option.

While San Francisco figures out their WR group, they’re also inching closer to the end of Kittle’s career. While he is still an elite TE, he is now 30 years old and he won’t be around forever.

That’s why NBC Sports reporter Matt Maiocco is urging the team to consider his successor. On April 5, Maiocco explained his logic on 49ers Talk.

“They got to start making some plans, perhaps for life after George Kittle,” Maiocco said.

“I know that’s kind of odd to say because it seems like he’s just so young, and he just, not too long ago, broke into the NFL. But he is 30 years old.”

Kittle earned his 4th Pro Bowl and 2nd All-Pro first-team honor in 2023, and his 15.7 yards per catch was the best single-season average of his career.



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