49ers Trade Rumors: Brandon Aiyuk To Raiders? $12M WR Faces Deebo Samuel Challenge

Published 02/18/2024, 5:25 AM EST

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The San Francisco 49ers losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl is old news now. More recently, we’ve seen players entering free agency and for some of them, the sky is the limit. They’re doing it mostly because their contract runs nil this year, or they think they deserve more than what they’re getting. Brandon Aiyuk is one of those individuals.

The 49ers qualified for the Super Bowl, and it might be reason enough for Brandon Aiyuk to ask for a raise. Or is it? Rumors are surfacing that Brandon Aiyuk might be seeking new arrangements for his career going forward. But his ties with the 49ers might sever because of their penchant for Deebo Samuel, despite him putting up sub-par numbers. The disparity in their salary might also lead Aiyuk to reconsider his spot on the Niners roster.

Is Brandon Aiyuk going to stick with the San Francisco 49ers and vice versa?

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The conversation has been floating around for a while now. In 2020, Aiyuk signed a 4-year $12.5M deal with the Niners. Now, the WR would be eligible to sign a contract extension with the Niners or would become a free agent this off-season. A post from NFL Rumors tries to make a case for the Niners WR by showing how he’s improved over the years. However, his improvement is not under question here.

The problem is that revered wide receivers like Tyreek Hill have a base salary of more than $19M. His teammate Deebo Samuel has a base salary of $20.9M kicking in this season. Such a huge payout will ultimately reach to a point of inflation, where the Niners would have a hard time managing their cap space. For them, to manage their cap space would require them to make a trade or hire someone else for significantly less. For the 49ers GM, it’s all a huge “puzzle” because even if they want to pay Aiyuk his worth, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) wont allow it.

Then there’s the other side of the coin. One must ponder whether it would be worth it to pay him about $20M for the job. Especially at a time when receivers like Mike Evans, Tee Higgins, Odell Beckham Jr., and Ja’Marr Chase would also be in the race. The San Fran team already pays Deebo Samuel about $24M per season. So why would they choose to pay another $20M to a WR when there are so many options available in the market?

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If the San Francisco 49ers don’t find a way to extend Aiyuk’s contract, the receiver would be traded to some other team in exchange for another draft pick or a player, or both. When asked about his next move after the Super Bowl concluded, the receiver seemed cryptic and stoic in his answer.

Brandon Aiyuk is waiting for a green light

A video was circulating X and it’s a snippet of Aiyuk’s locker room conversation with the reporters. He was asked whether he would like to stay with the Niners for the foreseeable future or not. “If that’s the right move, yeah” and elaborated on the “right move” as the Niners ability to become “champions”. Maybe the WR’s reclusive answers were coming from a place of loss.

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We’ve seen Aiyuk dropping a considerable number of passes and he is unsuccessful in his efforts at times, but he also excels at picking the best routes. That comes from experience, which the WR has plenty of. This would be worse if the 49ers do decide to trade him for a first-round pick and draft a rookie receiver for a way lesser amount. They did the same when they drafted Brock Purdy for a bargain. That would help because the Niners already have a pretty strong arsenal.

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What’s your take on this situation? Start a discussion in the comment box below.

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Written by:

Abhinav Prakash

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Abhinav Prakash is an NFL Writer at EssentiallySports. He covers several aspects of the game, more specifically core sports events. Abhinav has also covered Taylor Swift in great detail, apart from these stalwarts.
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Edited by:

Mallika Singh