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“49ers absolutely want him back”: What Schefter has heard about Brandon Aiyuk contract talks

Jun 19, 2024 at 8:36 AM

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Speculation is rampant regarding the contract negotiations between the San Francisco 49ers and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, especially after Aiyuk took to social media and seemingly declared he was unwanted by his team.

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

Naturally, trade rumors followed, dominating Monday's 49ers-related discussions. NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah even noted that if a trade were to happen, he sees the Pittsburgh Steelers as a "perfect match."

However, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer refuted such speculation, stating, "There's a lot of noise out there (most of it uninformed) about the San Francisco 49ers' position on receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and the possibility that things are devolving to the point where the second-team All-Pro could be traded. I wouldn't listen to that. Not, yet, at least."

Despite this, Steelers fans remain intrigued by the possibility of adding a player like Aiyuk. ESPN's Adam Schefter, appearing on Ohio-based radio station 97.1 The Fan, discussed Aiyuk's recent comments.

"I can tell you that Brandon Aiyuk is not accurate in that statement," Schefter said, per Steelers Depot. "The 49ers absolutely want him back. The problem is, at what price do they want him back?"

Aiyuk is slated to earn $14.124 million in 2024 on a team-exercised fifth-year option, assuming he plays during the upcoming season. Aiyuk and his camp likely seek more than twice that amount annually in the form of a long-term deal, placing him among the NFL's highest-paid receivers.

Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that the 49ers' last offer to Aiyuk was in the $26 million-per-year range, close but still short of the receiver's goal.

Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings recently became the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league, earning about $35 million annually.

"The wide receiver market has exploded here recently. It's gone up dramatically," Schefter continued. "The offers and deals have been higher, I believe, than what the 49ers have offered Brandon Aiyuk. So Brandon Aiyuk is taking what the 49ers have offered, and he's saying, 'The fact that they don't want to pay me like Justin Jefferson, they don't want me here.' No, that's not true. They do want him there, but they want him there at a certain number that they believe is fair."

No one expects Aiyuk to earn Jefferson-type money. However, something approaching $30 million annually would make more sense, aligning the 49ers receiver with players like Jaylen Waddle of the Miami Dolphins and Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Detroit Lions.
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