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NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo says 49ers, Brandon Aiyuk “no closer to a deal”

Marc Adams
Jul 2, 2024 at 9:26 AM

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You can add NFL Insider, Mike Garafolo, as the latest to comment on the rocky contract negotiations between the San Francisco 49ers and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Few would have expected Aiyuk's contract offseason to be more dramatic than that of Deebo Samuel two years ago. Samuel requested a trade and removed the 49ers from his social media accounts. Aiyuk, who seems to be enjoying the attention, has been even more vocal about negotiations than Samuel was.

Both players entered negotiations for a new contract after their best season as a pro. Samuel's 2021 season saw him put the 49ers' offense on his back, at times. He finished the regular season with 1,405 yards receiving and 365 yards rushing to go along with 14 total touchdowns. He rushed for an additional 137 yards in the postseason and had 154 yards receiving.

Last season was Aiyuk's best. He caught 75 passes for 1,342 yards in the regular season. He also scored seven touchdowns. In the playoffs, he made the biggest catch of the season in the NFC Championship Game, when the 49ers were down big and needed a spark.

Garafolo, appearing on NFL Network's The Insiders, spoke on the contract situation surrounding Aiyuk and the 49ers. Garafolo asked the question that many have been wondering. "Is he [Aiyuk] going to be with the 49ers long-term, or is he not going to be with the 49ers long-term? Is he going to have to play out this year? He has alluded to the fact that he thinks he's going to be with the Niners in some form or fashion in '24. If not, with the Commanders or with the Steelers."

Aiyuk mentioned San Francisco, Washington, and Pittsburgh as three potential teams he may play for in 2024. He named those teams in response to a question from ESPN's Ryan Clark on "The Pivot Podcast," in which Clark asked Aiyuk what jersey he thought he'd be wearing this coming season. Notably, Aiyuk mentioned the other two teams because both have been rumored as potential trade partners for Aiyuk. But it's doubtful the 49ers will trade Aiyuk, at this point.

"For Aiyuk and the 49ers, they had conversations recently," Garafolo added. "They are no closer to a deal, from my understanding, but they are also no closer to a trade request. That's never been something that he has explored in this case. Besides, he's got to get back to work sometime before training camp to see if they can get something done."

There was optimism that the 49ers and Aiyuk were getting closer to a deal. Last Monday, Aiyuk met with GM John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. Then later in the week, Aiyuk was back at Levi's Stadium, presumably meeting with 49ers' brass again. Garafolo's comment that the two sides are no closer to a deal is concerning, but there is still plenty of time for a deal to get worked out. And once training camp arrives (players report on July 23), the 49ers and Aiyuk are more likely to agree on a new deal. Sometimes a deadline is the difference.

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