5th-year options on Brandon Aiyuk, Javon Kinlaw won’t come cheap for 49ers
Among the slew of decisions the 49ers will have to make this offseason is whether they’ll pick up the fifth-year options for 2020 first-round picks Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk.
Players selected in the first round of the draft are given a regular four-year rookie deal with a club option for a fifth season. That fifth year is a fully-guaranteed amount which is tiered based on how the player performs. A rookie deal is typically pretty cheap, but the fifth-year option number generally isn’t.
The NFL on Tuesday released official salary numbers for fifth-year options on 2020 NFL draft picks. The deadline to exercise that option is May 1 at 1:00 pm Pacific Time.
Kinlaw’s fifth-year option as a defensive tackle with no Pro Bowl appearances is $11,665,000 for the 2024 season. Given his injury issues over the course of his career and some of his struggles when he has played, it’s hard to believe the 49ers will pick up that option.
If Kinlaw plays well in 2023, the 49ers could still look to bring him back on a new deal. That fully-guaranteed price tag in 2024 though is likely going to be too steep.
The decision on Aiyuk will be a little more interesting. Wide receivers with no Pro Bowl appearances have a fifth-year option number of $14,124,000. That’s not an outrageous number in the current WR market, and a big 2023 from Aiyuk could mean he’s worth well north of that dollar figure in free agency.
San Francisco would be smart to exercise that option on Aiyuk to keep him through at least 2024. It’d be worth the extra year to negotiate a long-term deal even if he plateaus from a production standpoint.
There’s still plenty for the 49ers to work out before they need to make decisions on either player. They’ll have free agency and the draft, and hopefully a clearer picture on their salary cap situation moving forward.
Regardless of whether San Francisco uses those options, 2023 will be a big year for both Kinlaw and Aiyuk with the clock winding down on their first NFL contracts.
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