Presents a Dilemma: 49ers Could Trade Starting WR for Huge Return.

Presents a Dilemma: 49ers Could Trade Starting WR for Huge Return.
Presents a Dilemma: 49ers Could Trade Starting WR for Huge Return.

Although wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk isn’t anxious about the offseason, the San Francisco 49ers are already considering Aiyuk as a possible trade partner.

Although Aiyuk is still in his rookie deal, he will soon be receiving a sizable salary.

The former Arizona State Sun Devil has become a key member of the team during the last two seasons.

Aiyuk has stepped up to basically become 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy’s favorite target as Deebo Samuel has battled injuries.

However, San Francisco does not have limitless funds, and David Kenyon of Bleacher Report believes that they could move Aiyuk as a result.

“Brandon Aiyuk is headed for a very pricey extension once his contract runs out after 2024. Samuel is already signed for more than $20 million through 2025 and presents a dilemma,” Kenyon writes.

“…Are the Niners willing to commit $45-plus million to Aiyuk and Samuel? If not, they presumably could land a first-round pick in a trade for Aiyuk and quickly draft his potential replacement.”

It’s a fair point. The 49ers have already committed big money to several players, and there’s also future contracts for Purdy and safety Talonoa Hufanga to consider.

That being said, losing Aiyuk to start over with a rookie could be bring more risk than reward.

Brandon Aiyuk Balls in San Francisco

With names like Deebo and tight end George Kittle, Aiyuk had to earn his role on the offense.

Being a first-round pick meant he was going to get plenty of opportunities, but he was not entering the locker room as the new premier weapon.

Aiyuk was steady and patient in 2020. As a rookie, he missed time due to injury but caught 60 passes for 748 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 12 games.

Pro Football Reference shows that he barely bettered his stats the following year with 56 catches for 826 yards and five touchdowns.

But it was in 2022 that Aiyuk took his first significant step up. For the first time in his career, he eclipsed the 1000-yard mark (1015) and caught eight touchdowns.

The 49ers had gotten more creative with their usage of Samuel, meaning that Aiyuk has essentially spent the last two years as the team’s primary downfield receiver.

San Francisco has seen that come to fruition in 2023. Through eight games, Aiyuk has 38 catches for 675 yards and three touchdowns. He’s averaging a whopping 17.8 yards per catch, which ranks 2nd among qualifying players this season

49ers’ Draft Situation

San Francisco has been tight on draft picks for the past few years, primarily due to the trade for now-Dallas Cowboys QB Trey Lance. The 49ers have not had a first-round pick since 2021, but that changes in 2024.

San Francisco will have five picks in the first three rounds. A trade to take another receiver high up in the draft would avoid the cap issues, but also give them more capital. What that moves hinges on is the 49ers’ feelings on the wide receiver class.

Three players stand out: Keon Coleman of Florida State, Malik Nabors of LSU, and Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State. Do they have higher ceilings than Aiyuk? Given that they have only witnessed Aiyuk’s improvement over time, it is difficult to say.



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