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Insider would be ‘absolutely shocked’ if 49ers told Brandon Aiyuk he’s unwanted

Jun 17, 2024 at 4:45 PM

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"They said they don't want me back ... I swear," San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk recently told Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels, a former Arizona State teammate.

Aiyuk's comments have sparked significant speculation, but they don't align with what the 49ers have been saying publicly this offseason.

"I've communicated on a couple of occasions, on many occasions, our wish," general manager John Lynch said ahead of the draft. "And our wish is that he's here and a part of the Niners for the rest of his career. We're working through that."

That doesn't mean the 49ers didn't hang up the phone when other teams came calling about the talented receiver. Of course, nothing came of those conversations, as no one was willing to offer anything enticing enough to pry Aiyuk from the 49ers' grasp.

If the 49ers weren't willing to trade Aiyuk ahead of or during the draft, they would be less likely to do so now, as acquiring immediate-impact compensation would be more challenging.

49ers insider Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area isn't buying that the 49ers told Aiyuk that they don't want him to return for the upcoming season.

"I obviously don't know for certain, but I would be absolutely shocked, and I would put a very low percentage on that being factual, that the 49ers, whoever it would be for the 49ers, telling Brandon Aiyuk that we don't want you back. I can't comprehend that they would say that.

"And I would say there's no way they said that, especially when you think about [the fact that] they want him back for this year. There's no question about it. And I don't think there's any question he's going to be playing for the 49ers this season."

While Maiocco believes Aiyuk will play for the 49ers in 2024, he still questions whether the team can get a long-term deal done with its receiver. There remain lingering doubts on that front.

Aiyuk is slated to earn $14.124 million in 2024 on a team-exercised fifth-year option, which is likely less than half the annual salary he seeks from the 49ers. 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.

While Aiyuk may feel the 49ers don't want him back, it is more likely that the team simply doesn't want to pay upwards of $30 million annually to keep the receiver in red and gold. San Francisco has handed out several large contracts in recent years, and quarterback Brock Purdy is set to become one of the highest-paid players in NFL history next year.

"If the 49ers had no intention of signing him and they didn't want him back, then he would already be gone," Maiocco added. "But they do want him back, and they do want him to play this season, and they want him to put up big-time numbers, whether he has a contract with the team beyond this year or not."

Aiyuk is currently under contract, giving San Francisco some leverage in the negotiation process. There may be more pressure on the team to sign its receiver to a new deal as training camp approaches. Aiyuk skipped the 49ers' mandatory minicamp earlier this month, and any further missed time could disrupt the chemistry between quarterback Brock Purdy and his top target.

"I mean, it's hard to be successful at quarterback if you don't have real good receivers," head coach Kyle Shanahan stated in March. "So it starts there with Brandon, and I think that's real big for Brock in his future, making sure we got a good group for him going forward."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Maiocco below.

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