Did the 49ers Want a Different 1st-Round WR? Insider Addresses Brandon Aiyuk Trade Rumor

    According to one NFL insider, the 49ers held trade discussions involving Brandon Aiyuk during the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

    San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk’s name has been floated in trade rumors throughout this offseason as he enters the final year of his contract. On Tuesday morning, a prominent NFL insider shared the latest intel on Aiyuk’s trade value according to conversations with teams that tried to pursue the talented wide receiver.

    Insider Shares Level of Interest Teams Had for Brandon Aiyuk

    ESPN NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler delivered a detailed post-draft report on all 32 teams, including the 49ers. Fowler notes that there were numerous watchful eyes on how the Niners would address the WR room.

    “Multiple teams told me they had interest in Brandon Aiyuk, but they believed the 49ers wanted a first-round pick for him,” Fowler reported.

    Fowler drew parallels with A.J. Brown and his 2022 situation — where the Tennessee Titans wideout became involved in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia Eagles that centered around the 18th pick of the draft.

    “Trading for Aiyuk would have required a new deal and a premium pick,” Fowler said.

    Ultimately, Aiyuk remained with the 49ers and watched his former Arizona State teammate Ricky Pearsall get swooped up by the franchise with the 31st pick. Aiyuk’s general manager John Lynch then took to the media during the draft to deny entertaining any thoughts of trading either Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel.

    John Lynch Continues To Address Aiyuk Trade Rumblings

    Lynch hasn’t stopped denying having any thoughts of a roster blowup for San Francisco.

    Speaking with “The Pat McAfee Show” on May 2, the 49ers GM is fully content with who’s walking inside and outside the 49ers’ facility.

    “I love our roster,” Lynch began. “I love the way it’s comprised.”

    But even Lynch believed that the draft presented the reigning NFC champs an opportunity to get better — including adding to the WR room through Pearsall. Still, Lynch denies that he had any desire to trade Aiyuk or Samuel.

    “I’m doing everything in my power to keep this roster together,” Lynch said. “That’s my goal. I don’t question that. I’ve got so much belief when you talk about guys like Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel — they’re guys we drafted, and they’re guys we take a lot of pride in what they’ve become and who they’ve become. We couldn’t be more prouder for those guys.”

    San Francisco 49ers’ WR Depth Chart With Ricky Pearsall Selection

    Now, how will Pearsall fit as a first-rounder in a deep WR room?

    Outside of Aiyuk and Samuel’s return, the 49ers have Jauan Jennings returning, who’s proven to be reliable during third downs. Even tight end George Kittle and running back Christian McCaffrey have long established themselves as reliable receiving options.

    MORE: NFC Offseason Grades — Ranking All 16 Teams

    But are there executives and NFL personnel who like the Pearsall fit? Fowler received mixed reactions about Pearsall in this offense.

    “He can be a nice No. 2 or No. 3 receiver, a good player, but that was a bit of a reach, in my opinion,” an NFC personnel evaluator said of Pearsall to Fowler.

    Meanwhile, an AFC exec told Fowler that Pearsall could be utilized similar to how the Los Angeles Rams turned Puka Nacua loose before his breakout rookie season of 2023.

    “They wanted a route runner like the Rams have in Puka [Nacua]. Probably see him in that same role,” the exec told Fowler.

    49ers Looking To Extend Aiyuk?

    On Tuesday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport provided the latest update on the Aiyuk situation in San Francisco. According to Rapoport, despite the Pearsall selection spurring speculation that the 49ers could be trading Aiyuk, San Francisco’s plan is to keep him in 2024 and beyond.

    “My understanding of the situation, really something that has been consistent since the draft, is that the 49ers are moving forward with Brandon Aiyuk on the roster” said Rapoport.

    “They have been in contract negotiations, trying to get him to a long-term deal, trying to get to a point where he will accept their offer in the fact that the receiver market for the really, really good receivers has been more defined over the last month or so helps.”

    Rapoport is referring to the contract extensions recently signed by star wide receivers A.J. Brown, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and DeVonta Smith. Aiyuk’s expected average annual value on a new contract should lie somewhere between the $25 million per year that Smith signed for and Brown’s record-breaking $32 million per year salary.

    For Aiyuk and the 49ers, they still have plenty of time to get a deal done. However, if they go into this season without agreeing to an extension, then this situation could get messy with Aiyuk playing on the final year of his deal on the fifth-year option.

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