NFL Rumors: Ricky Pearsall, 49ers Agree to $12.5M Rookie Contract amid Aiyuk Buzz

Adam WellsJune 21, 2024

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 11: Ricky Pearsall #1 of the Florida Gators runs with the ball against the LSU Tigers during a game at Tiger Stadium on November 11, 2023 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Ricky Pearsall has agreed to terms on his rookie contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

Pearsall will earn a fully-guaranteed $12.5 million over four years in San Francisco, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Amid rumors the 49ers might be looking to trade either Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel leading up to the draft, the reigning NFC champs enhanced that speculation by selecting the Florida wideout with the No. 31 overall pick.

The draft ultimately ended with Aiyuk and Samuel still in San Francisco, but it certainly seems like the addition of Pearsall is going to signal a change in the receiver room potentially as soon as 2025.

In the meantime, though, the 49ers are hoping Pearsall can add another dimension to an offense that was unstoppable for most of the 2023 season. They led the league in net yards per play, expected points added per play, success rate and red zone offense.

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49ers key offensive metric rankings from this season:

Net yards per play: 1st 🥇
EPA per play: 1st 🥇
Success rate: 1st 🥇
Red zone offense: 1st 🥇
Average scoring margin: 🥈
Third down offense: 🥉

One of the big reasons Aiyuk is still on the roster is because his chemistry with Brock Purdy has taken his game to another level.

Aaron Schatz 🏈 @ASchatzNFL

Brandon Aiyuk had the highest receiving DVOA ever for a WR with at least 100 targets. #FTTB #49ers

Notice Nico Collins on here too! #WeAreTexans

Receiving DVOA = value per play, not total value

Pearsall and Aiyuk were teammates for one season at Arizona State in 2019. Pearsall eventually transferred to Florida before the 2022 season. He thrived in two years with the Gators, recording 1,626 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns in 25 games.

All of this is to say that adding Pearsall to a group that also has George Kittle and reigning Offensive Player of the Year Christian McCaffrey is when the first person discovered putting hot fudge on a sundae makes it even better.

B/R’s Derrik Klassen cited Pearsall’s ability to “attack” on plays deep down the field as his biggest strength:

“Pearsall’s best routes all attack down the field. He does not have the speed control or flexibility to thrive on curls, digs, comebacks and other sharp routes, but he can manipulate DBs in space and attack with an explosive crossover step. That shows up best when Pearsall can run posts and deep over routes, allowing him to attack the DB vertically and to one shoulder before snapping back across their face.”

Given that Samuel, Kittle and McCaffrey are at their best operating in the short and intermediate area before creating extra yards after the catch, adding another player alongside Aiyuk who can win deep down the field can open things up even more for head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Pearsall also gives the 49ers an insurance policy for this season if Samuel misses time due to injuries. Samuel has missed at least two games in each of the past two seasons and a total of 15 since the start of 2020.

Given how crowded San Francisco’s skill-position group is right now, Pearsall might not see significant playing time early as a rookie. The team’s belief in him as a first-round prospect definitely suggests he will grow into a bigger role as the season goes along.

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