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49ers Asking for First Round Pick for Brandon Aiyuk

The 49ers want a first round pick for Brandon Aiyuk, but would it be worth it for the Steelers to give up that much and pay him?

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Pittsburgh Steelers Trade Target San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk warms up before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 10, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers want to land Brandon Aiyuk, or at least it certainly is pointing to that as the team has become distilled in rumors around their potential acquisition of the star receiver. But to this point, San Francisco does not seem open, or at least receptive, to what the league might want to give up for Aiyuk. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mike Silver, other teams would have to give up a first-round pick to land Aiyuk.

“There is a sense among high-ranking executives that Brandon Aiyuk is available for the right price. To this point, the 49ers are asking for a first round pick,” Silver noted.

But the Steelers are still connected to him despite that, and NFL insider Ari Meirov believes that the timeline for an Aiyuk trade could be right at the NFL Draft.

“I would not say the San Francisco 49ers want to move Brandon Aiyuk, but the draft will be a critical pressure point in this saga. Aiyuk wants a top-market receiver contract, and the 49ers are nowhere close to that right now,” Meirov wrote. “If the 49ers still have Aiyuk on the roster after Friday, that should signal they are confident they’ll bridge the gap.”

The 49ers and Aiyuk appear far apart in negotiations. So, not only would a team have to acquire Aiyuk for significant draft capital, but they would have to pay Aiyuk a massive contract. But Pittsburgh can accommodate that. Silver noted that one executive believes Aiyuk is in play, but the asking price is simply too high. Though, one executive thinks they might accept a high second and a third round pick in 2025.

“However, another team’s GM said he believes the 49ers might ultimately accept a second-round selection. Such a deal might become more enticing to Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan if that pick were near the start of the second round and packaged with another selection — say, a 2025 third-rounder,” Silver wrote.

On Monday, 49ers general manager John Lynch reiterated that the team would love to keep Aiyuk around long-term, though he has not shown up for offseason workouts yet. He mentioned that the team was having good talks with Aiyuk.

“With B.A., I’ve communicated on many occasions: Our wish is that he’s here as part of the Niners for the rest of his career,” Lynch said. “We’re working through that. I’m not going to get in all those details. We’re really focused on B.A. being a part of (our team). We’re having good talks, and I’m just going to leave it at that. We’ll focus on the draft here today.”

Lynch added that the team has had talks with others about Aiyuk. The Steelers have reached out to the 49ers about Aiyuk, as has been reported by Steelers Now and many other outlets. Mike Florio of NBC Sports reported last Wednesday that their request was rebuffed.

“My understanding is that the Steelers placed a phone call a few weeks ago. And were told by the 49ers we’re not trading the guy,” Florio said in an appearance on 93.7 the Fan on Wednesday.

And on Tuesday, Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 the Fan said that the team is exploring packages but the 49ers have yet to reciprocate interest.

Back at the owner’s meetings, Lynch had a similar update on Aiyuk, stating that the 49ers did not want to move Aiyuk to the Steelers or any other team.

“I promise you, nothing’s going on there,” Lynch said of the trade rumors back at the owner’s meetings. “We’re actually talking to Brandon to try and figure something out. You know, we have a good history of working with the guys that we want to get done to get something done. So, can we do that? We’ll see. There’s a number of different directions that could go. But we appreciate the heck out of Brandon and what he is as a player. We want him to be a part of the Niners, so we’re going to work towards making that a reality.”

On NFL Total Access last week, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided the latest on the Aiyuk trade rumors. Aiyuk recently unfollowed the San Francisco 49ers on Instagram, suggesting that he’s getting fed up with the team for not reaching his desired figure on a long-term deal.

“Now, as far as the trade request, I would agree with his agent. There has been no trade request,” Rapoport said. “Obviously there have been some teams though who know that all is not well and know that he wants a contract extension. Some receiver-needy teams have acquired over the last several months to see if he could be available. To my knowledge, the 49ers have not entertained any of those talks.”

According to offshore sportsbook SportsBetting.ag, the Steelers are the favorites to land Aiyuk should he leave San Francisco. Aiyuk is heading into the last year of his rookie contract, and will play on the fifth-year option. But the 49ers have a cap crunch, and with Aiyuk needing an extension, that could be significant.

As it stands with the odds, Pittsburgh is the clear cut favorite with 2/1 odds. The Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots hold 6/1 odds while the Arizona Cardinals boast 7/1 odds and the Los Angeles Chargers finish it out with 9/1 odds. 

So, if the trade talks intensify, it seems the Steelers are expected to be in the driver’s seat for Aiyuk.