It Would Take ‘Something Monumental’ To Trade Brandon Aiyuk, Says 49ers Beat Reporter

When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Diontae Johnson, they created a rather large hole on their roster to fill prior to the start of the 2024 season. They brought in QB Russell Wilson on a one-year deal, and certainly do not want to squander his $1.21 million salary. One of the large benefits of that small contract is having extra cap space to dedicate to improving the team around Wilson. With the free agent market for wide receivers dwindling, the next best option might be to conduct a trade. Recently there has been a lot of buzz surrounding San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk.

Ex-NFL WR advocates for 49ers to trade Brandon Aiyuk: "Let that man be  free" | 49ers Webzone

He had an excellent 2023 season with a career-high of 1,342 yards on 75 receptions and seven touchdowns for a team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Shortly after the Super Bowl, Aiyuk took to social media and posted, “Don’t forget what got you there.” He was only targeted six times in the big game and caught three passes for 49 yards in the 49ers’ overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

His brother also took to social media and said, “This is the exact reason why we leaving San Francisco.”


The Athletic’s 49ers beat reporter Matt Barrows recently posted a mailbag and in the first question was about a possible Aiyuk trade. He speculated that if it happens, it would probably be before the draft.

“That’s my sense. Just go back two years to when Deebo Samuel was agitating for a trade. The 49ers kept their phone lines open before, and especially during, the draft to see what kind of offers Samuel would bring,” Barrows wrote. “The 49ers needed to be blown away to let go of Samuel, who was coming off his incredible 2021 campaign. I think a similar scenario is in play for Aiyuk, who has excellent chemistry with Brock Purdy: The 49ers will listen to offers but it will take something monumental to let him go.”

Dave Bryan recently posted a closer look at the 49ers’ situation with Aiyuk on the site. One of the parallels he drew was the recent L’Jarius Sneed trade to the Tennessee Titans in which they traded a 2025 third-round pick and a 2024 seventh-round pick swap for the cornerback. That value was far less than many anticipated because he was franchise tagged so he only has one year of team control and an expensive, fully guaranteed cap hit. Aiyuk is on the fifth-year option, so it is not quite as expensive, but it is a similar circumstance with an extension immediately necessary for the team on the receiving end of the trade.

The 49ers picked up his fifth-year option last year for an amount of $14.12 million next season. Typically, teams will start working on long-term contracts with their players with one year remaining on the deal, so now would be the time to do that if it is in their plans.

The buzz surrounding a Steelers-Aiyuk union reached a new level when Aiyuk took to X and tweeted directly at Mike Tomlin due to some social media pictures that had been making the rounds that pointed out the striking similarity in their appearances.

The Steelers could pull off this trade and make it work under the salary cap, but it would certainly be a large swing. If the trade value comes in anywhere close to what Sneed’s was, then it might make too much sense to pass up. According to Barrows that may be too much to hope for.

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