NFL Exec Reveals Big Reason 49ers Might Trade Brandon Aiyuk

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers
NFL Analysis Network

After the high-profile trade that saw Stefon Diggs move teams, speculation is swirling around whether San Francisco 49ers’ standout Brandon Aiyuk could be the next big name on the move.

Reports indicate that Aiyuk and the 49ers are currently deadlocked in contract negotiations. If an agreement isn’t reached soon, there’s a possibility that San Francisco could explore trading the 26-year-old wide receiver before the 2024 NFL Draft, according to insights from a league executive.

Speaking on Aiyuk’s future, an NFL executive shed light on a significant factor that could push the 49ers towards parting ways with their star receiver.

“Aiyuk is so integral to what they do, more so than Deebo Samuel is, that I’d try to get something done with him before Justin Jefferson and these other receivers get deals and the price goes up. Because this is a deep receiver draft, they may try to do it in reverse. If there is something they can get done from a draft standpoint, then it could be moving Aiyuk or knowing their feet are to the fire and they have to extend him.”

It’s argued that it would be advantageous for the 49ers to secure Aiyuk’s contract extension before the Minnesota Vikings finalize a deal for Justin Jefferson. Market projections suggest Aiyuk’s value could reach $29.4 million annually, placing him just behind Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins as the second-highest-paid wide receiver in the league.

Aiyuk’s current market value stands at approximately $24 million per season, aligning him with Seattle’s D.K. Metcalf and Stefon Diggs, among others. However, this figure could escalate based on Jefferson’s contract with Minnesota.

With the 49ers facing a tight salary cap situation, currently holding just $6.7 million in available cap space, extending Aiyuk poses financial challenges. Therefore, trading him while his market value is at its peak and drafting a replacement emerges as a viable option for San Francisco.

The 2024 NFL Draft boasts a deep pool of wide receiver talent, with up to 10 prospects projected to go in the first round. While finding a rookie capable of replicating Aiyuk’s contributions is no easy feat, potential replacements like LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr., South Carolina’s Xavier Legette, and Texas’ Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy could seamlessly integrate into the 49ers’ offensive scheme.

Although various options are under consideration, the 49ers have expressed a commitment to retaining Brandon Aiyuk for the long term.

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