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49ers have leverage: Insider weighs in on latest Brandon Aiyuk development

Jun 17, 2024 at 3:49 PM

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Brandon Aiyuk sparked speculation on Monday, turning what would have been an otherwise slow news day into something more intriguing. The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver seemingly expressed frustration with current contract extension negotiations, telling former Arizona State teammate Jayden Daniels, now with the Washington Commanders, "They said they don't want me back ... I swear."

Aiyuk posted the strategically edited clip to social media.

RELATED Aiyuk amid 49ers contract talks: "They said they don't want me back"

Understandably, this became the most prominent 49ers-related topic of the day as fans await a resolution to the contract standoff.

Matt Barrows of The Athletic weighed in on this latest development, interpreting it as a player's frustration.

"Aiyuk is frustrated over ongoing contract negotiations and is taking to social media to express that frustration," Barrows wrote in a recent column. "That's the best explanation for his 'they don't want me' message to Daniels and it follows other cryptic comments and musings he's posted during the offseason."

While Aiyuk may not like the leisurely pace of the negotiations, the 49ers' approach fits with the team's track record. San Francisco has typically waited until closer to training camp to sign their stars to contract extensions and has gone through this process for five consecutive offseasons.

Oh, and next year will be quarterback Brock Purdy's turn, when he will likely become one of the highest-paid players in NFL history.

Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that the 49ers' last offer to Aiyuk was likely in the $26 million-a-year range, seemingly less than market value. If the team is standing firm on that number, Aiyuk may perceive that as a lack of interest in securing him for the foreseeable future.

"We can probably infer that the 49ers don't want Aiyuk back — at least at the price he's demanding," Barrows continued. "Remember that San Francisco has leverage here because Aiyuk is already under contract for $14.1 million in 2024. The team can also franchise tag Aiyuk to hold onto him beyond that."

Aiyuk skipped the 49ers' mandatory minicamp earlier this month, subjecting himself to hefty fines but sending a strong signal to the team that he is unhappy with their current stance on his contract negotiations.

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