Few players showed more improvement this season than San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The fourth-year pro hauled in 75 receptions for a career-high 1,342 yards and seven touchdowns. He added nine catches for 149 yards and scored his first playoff touchdown.

Aiyuk is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. The 25-year-old said he would stay with the Niners “If that’s the right move,” per Matt Barrows.

Niners general manager John Lynch called Aiyuk “a fantastic player for us. Kyle calls him a warrior all the time because of the way he goes out and competes. That shines through.”

Aiyuk emerged as one of Brock Purdy's favorite targets for the 49ers in 2023, which has led many to believe he'll sign an extension. The Niners can’t extend Purdy yet but they can retain one of his best weapons on a long-term deal before the 2024 season kicks off.

Fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel had one year remaining on his rookie deal when he signed a three-year extension with the Niners in 2022. There's no word on whether Aiyuk would consider a holdout for a new contract, but the Niners would be wise to strike a deal with him to secure another offensive asset.

Building for the long haul

The 49ers arguably have the most talented roster in football so there was no surprise that they reached the Super Bowl and had an opportunity to win it right down to the end. San Francisco had nine Pro Bowl players and seven All-Pros (five first-team).

Several Niners stars are under contract for at least two more seasons, so Lynch will have plenty of decisions to make over the next couple of years. He can take one thing off his plate this offseason by signing Aiyuk.

All roads right now lead to San Fran giving Brock Purdy a contract extension after the 2024 season. Barring a terrible season or injury for Purdy, that should be the case.

He deserves to have his top targets for a while then and Brandon Aiyuk is one of those targets. John Lynch will be a busy man this spring.