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Extending Jauan Jennings was right move for 49ers

The 49ers and wide receiver Jauan Jennings agreed to a contract extension that will keep the 2020 seventh-round pick in San Francisco through the 2025 season.

This was a good medium for the 49ers and Jennings where San Francisco wanted to lock in their No. 3 WR for more than one year, while Jennings didn’t want to take a deal that would potentially cost him money in the long-term.

A two-year deal gives Jennings room to operate as the WR3 for the next couple years with a chance for a higher target share depending on how things shake out in the receiving corps. An uptick in production would make him more valuable in the free agent market as a 28-year-old in the 2026 offseason.

Meanwhile the 49ers get to keep a sure thing in their uncertain receiving corps. Brandon Aiyuk isn’t under contract beyond 2024 and it’s unclear what Deebo Samuel’s future with the team is. Ricky Pearsall and Jacob Cowing, both 2024 draft picks, should factor in somewhere in the next couple seasons, but neither player offers the skill set Jennings has. He’s a big, tenacious run blocker who has become a big-time playmaker on third down for San Francisco.

It’s not that Jennings is irreplaceable, but not having him would change the way the 49ers offense can run out of three-plus WR sets.

Getting him at $10.5 million guaranteed over the next two years is probably right about what he would’ve received on the open market this year as a restricted free agent, and it doesn’t break the bank for San Francisco in a way that will tie their hands when it comes to Aiyuk’s extension.

Jennings’ production won’t ever jump off the page, but anyone who follows the 49ers closely knows how valuable he is. Keeping him at least for the next two seasons was a no-brainer move for the 49ers.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire