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Daniel Jeremiah views Steelers as ‘perfect match’ for 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

Jun 17, 2024 at 11:14 AM

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Let's start by saying that no credible report indicates the San Francisco 49ers are looking to trade their star wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk. However, speculation arose on Monday when a video surfaced of Aiyuk talking to former Arizona State teammate, now Washington Commanders quarterback, Jayden Daniels.

"They said they don't want me back ... I swear," Aiyuk told Daniels during what appeared to be a FaceTime conversation.

What does this mean? No one is entirely sure. It could simply be Aiyuk reacting to the lack of progress in the negotiations for a contract extension. It could be that Aiyuk and Daniels are discussing another matter entirely.

The receiver is set to earn $14.124 million on a team-exercised fifth-year option. However, he likely seeks to be among the highest-paid wideouts in the NFL, which could cost the 49ers upwards of $30 million annually.

Understandably, some interpreted the video as Aiyuk indicating that the 49ers' stance is clear: They will not meet his contract demands. This has led to speculation that the team might consider trading Aiyuk if it can't reach a deal.

Again, this is all speculation.

NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah weighed in, stating that if Aiyuk is available via a trade, "I could make a strong argument Pittsburgh would be a perfect match." He noted, however, that he doesn't have inside knowledge of the 49ers' intentions regarding Aiyuk.

Leading to this year's draft, the Steelers were rumored to be one of the teams inquiring about the 49ers receiver.

Aiyuk has a few options. He could demand a trade and threaten to sit out training camp and possibly the upcoming season. Of course, missing the entirety of the 2024 season would push his fifth-year option to the following year, placing him in the same situation he is in now. However, it would send a strong message to the 49ers amid tough negotiations.

Alternatively, Aiyuk could play on the fifth-year option and reassess his situation next offseason. However, this carries the risk of injury, and the 49ers can use the franchise tag on the receiver next year, potentially exploring trade offers before the draft.

San Francisco could trade Aiyuk before the start of the regular season. With much of the same core from last season returning and aiming for another Super Bowl run, the team might be comfortable having Aiyuk play on the fifth-year option. There would be little incentive to trade the standout receiver without receiving an immediate-impact offer in return.

The 49ers continue to navigate challenging negotiations with Aiyuk, balancing their championship aspirations with future salary cap considerations. The outcome will significantly impact the team for years to come.
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