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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Why Albert Breer is optimistic 49ers and Brandon Aiyuk get a deal done

Jun 19, 2024 at 4:48 PM

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Colin Cowherd declared on his FS1 show, "The Herd," that he doesn't believe Brandon Aiyuk will remain with the San Francisco 49ers beyond the trade deadline. The two sides have struggled to find common ground during contract extension talks and reportedly remain at an impasse. However, the pressure to reach an agreement might increase as training camp approaches.

Cowherd noted that he believes Aiyuk is replaceable, citing the 49ers' drafting of two receivers, Ricky Pearsall and Jacob Cowing, along with their recent extension of Jauan Jennings, to support his claim.

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer joined Cowherd's show (h/t Andy Lindquist of NBC Sports Bay Area) to share his thoughts on the Aiyuk situation.

"I think there are two things that I would say to give you some optimism that he could still be there [after the trade deadline]," Breer told Cowherd. "Number one is that they did get [the deal with] Christian McCaffrey done aggressively. And I think they had to do McCaffrey before they did Aiyuk because if you pay Aiyuk $29/30/31 million a year, now, the price of McCaffrey might go up. So you had to take care of McCaffrey first."

Breer also commented on a report by Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle, stating that the 49ers' last offer to Aiyuk was likely somewhere in the range of $26 million annually.

"That's not that far off," Breer noted. "And a lot of times, these things get ugliest towards the end. And the Deebo [Samuel] thing was not clean until it was at the very end. And I would tell you this, and I do feel strongly about this part of it: I think if you fed John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan truth serum and asked them, 'Who would you rather have in the roster, Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk going forward?' I think they would answer, 'Aiyuk.'

"They love Deebo. Deebo can do a lot of different things for them. But Deebo is like a supercharged gadget player. Aiyuk is more of a typical number one receiver who can beat man coverage, and you can build an offense around.

"And so, do I think they're going to go to Justin Jefferson numbers to get Aiyuk signed? No. And if Aiyuk draws a line in the sand there and says, 'I'm not going to take less than that,' then maybe he is traded. But if there is some level of compromise, I still think the Niners would like to get something done with Aiyuk, and I don't think the door is closed on that."

Aiyuk is currently scheduled to earn $14.124 million on a team-exercised fifth-year option. The 49ers can save money against the salary cap this year by signing Aiyuk to a long-term deal. However, the amount the team is willing to go over the reported $26 million annually remains to be seen.

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