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Report: Brandon Aiyuk expected to skip 49ers OTAs as contract talks remain far apart

May 21, 2024 at 10:05 AM

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It's hardly surprising news, but NFL Network's Mike Garafolo confirmed what many anticipated: San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is unlikely to report to Santa Clara for organized team activities (OTAs), which commenced yesterday. The team's first practice open to the media will be held this afternoon.

Garafolo points out that the two sides appear to remain far apart in the negotiation process, with Aiyuk seeking a long-term deal that makes him one of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL.

"So don't expect to see Aiyuk around for anything that's voluntary," Garafolo shared on NFL Network's "The Insiders" show. "And let's see about the mandatory stuff as well with him because you know he wants this done. He doesn't want to have to play on the last year of his contract. And if the 49ers, at some point, realize, well, we can't get this thing done, does he push their hand and say, 'Well, look, either it's a contract or get me out of here'?"

Garafolo clarified that tensions haven't reached that level yet, saying, "There hasn't been a trade request. I know that there were rumblings and reports about it. We're just not there. At this point, it's just a matter of figuring out what his value is because he's looking out, and he's seeing the deal that [Lions WR] Amon-Ra St. Brown got done, and the 49ers may turn around and say, 'Well, your production is not the same as his.'

"And he could say, 'Well, my target share is not the same, between [RB] Christian McCaffrey and [TE] George Kittle and [WR] Deebo Samuel. The ball's got to go elsewhere in this offense. So if I had the number of targets that he had or some of these other guys had, my production would be up there with them as well.'"

Garafolo points out that the 49ers' unique talent level further complicates negotiations, with the team well aware that more star power means more large contracts to spread around.

"So that's the dance that's kind of going on right now," Garafolo concludes. "But every sense that I've gotten from speaking to folks familiar with the progress of talks is that they are not close at this point."

Judy Battista adds that Aiyuk is not holding out amid contract negotiations, as this phase of the offseason program remains voluntary. The first mandatory practices for the 49ers will occur in early June, followed by a break until training camp in late July, which is also mandatory.

Battista remarked, "This is a very low-risk way for disgruntled players to show that they are unhappy with their current contract situation or with the pace of negotiations towards a new contract. This is not like a training camp holdout where you're getting fined thousands of dollars every day. This is, 'I'm just going to sit at home, and you can think about what life would be like without me.'"

Pelissero noted that skipping the upcoming mandatory minicamp would result in about $100,000 in fines, with potential increases once training camp begins.

NFL Network's report follows ESPN's Jeremy Fowler stating that Aiyuk and the 49ers remain far apart in the negotiation process.

"I'm told the 49ers certainly are open to doing a deal, but talks have not progressed enough where things are close," Fowler said over the weekend. "And so, is he going to show up for their workouts? Hard to tell right now. The market is pretty set for him. Amon-Ra St. Brown in Detroit did that deal recently, about $28 million a year. So, that's something for Aiyuk and the 49ers to work off of, but I'm told they're not quite there yet."
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