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Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

Why one analyst is worried for Brock Purdy if 49ers trade Brandon Aiyuk

Apr 18, 2024 at 11:13 AM

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy achieved a remarkable feat in 2023, setting a single-season franchise record with 4,280 passing yards. This accomplishment is noteworthy, considering the illustrious quarterbacks who have graced the organization's history.

A significant portion of those yards came from wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who amassed a career-high and team-leading 1,342 receiving yards. Most of his 75 catches originated from passes thrown by Purdy.

Amidst significant offseason chatter surrounding the 49ers' star receiver, including several unsubstantiated trade rumors, Aiyuk's future remains uncertain. Former NFL player James Jones, now an analyst, expressed concern for Purdy should Aiyuk's tenure in the Bay Area come to an end.

"I am worried about him," Jones shared on FS1's "Speak." "And I'm not worried about him like he's just going to be a terrible quarterback. I'm not saying that. But Brandon Aiyuk brings what Davante Adams brings, what Justin Jefferson brings, what Amari Cooper brings, and that is the ability to run great routes and get instant separation."

Jones emphasizes the significance of this for any quarterback, particularly highlighting the importance of timing in route-running.

"It's a reason why a lot of people say Brandon Aiyuk is the best wide receiver on the Niners, because he does wide receiver things—he runs routes," Jones continued. "And everybody wants to sit here and act like it's easy. It's not easy. Brandon, [Jauan] Jennings, Deebo Samuel, they run the same routes. These routes are in the Niners playbook. Brandon Aiyuk is just different at them.

"And when you lose that type of player, now you're trying to either go into the draft or free agency to find a guy that can do some of those things. Brandon Aiyuk is a rare route runner with the ability, at the line of scrimmage, to get off press coverage immediately and win, and Brock Purdy sees that."

Jones adds that Aiyuk's potential absence will require a significant adjustment from Purdy, knowing that he won't have a key contributor who can consistently create separation like the star receiver.

Aiyuk is set to earn $14.124 million on a team-exercised fifth-year option. The ascending 26-year-old receiver has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons.


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