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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rapoport: 49ers ‘really like’ Brandon Aiyuk, contract talks aren’t dead

Jun 17, 2024 at 5:09 PM

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Brandon Aiyuk has generated significant buzz with a viral clip he posted on social media today, which appears to have been his intent.

"They said they don't want me back ... I swear," the video showed Aiyuk telling Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels, a former Arizona State teammate.

However, most insiders do not believe the 49ers told Aiyuk he is unwanted. The team simply wants to avoid paying the star receiver upwards of $30 million annually. Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that the 49ers' most recent offer was around the $26 million-per-year range.

San Francisco has signed several star players to top-dollar contracts in recent years and is gearing up for next year when it will likely have to give quarterback Brock Purdy one of the largest contracts in NFL history.

The 49ers want to keep Aiyuk. The disagreement is solely about how much money the receiver should earn on a long-term deal. Specifically, it might be about how much the 49ers can afford to pay him.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport stated on NFL Network's "The Insiders" that the notion of the 49ers not wanting Aiyuk couldn't be further from the truth, adding, "They just want him at their price. It is not a negotiation, to my knowledge, that has been completely dead. They just have not done a deal yet. And it's pretty clear that Brandon Aiyuk wants the kind of money that [Lions WR] Amon-Ra St. Brown ended up making, about $28 million on average over the first three years of his deal. The 49ers are not there yet."

The 49ers hold leverage in the negotiations, with Aiyuk under contract and set to earn $14.124 million in 2024 on a team-exercised fifth-year option. Obviously, this is well below market value, and there remains much work to be done if the two sides are to reach an agreement.

Ideally, the 49ers want Aiyuk at training camp, where he can continue to build chemistry with Purdy. Players report back to the team in late July.

"They like him. They really like him," Rapoport continued. "They just have not been able to come together on a deal. So maybe that's kind of the feeling that Brandon Aiyuk was trying to give out."

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