The San Francisco 49ers handed the Seattle Seahawks a devasting 31-13 loss on Thanksgiving and exacted revenge from nearly a decade ago. While Brock Purdy and the 49ers offense was again efficient, it was wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk who sealed the deal with this dime that you just can’t watch too many times:
Yes, much like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean on repeat, the Purdy to Aiyuk touchdown on Thursday night will just get better with age and can be repeated all night.
Aiyuk is having a career season so good that a majority of his catches are more than just some positive yardage. Pro Football Focus’ Jeff Deeney pointed out an interesting stat:
40 of Brandon Aiyuk's 45 receptions this season have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown (88.9%). #49ers— Jeff Deeney (jeffdeeney on Threads) (@PFF_Jeff) November 24, 2023
So nearly 90 percent of the time when Brock Purdy goes Aiyuk’s way, something good is going to happen.
Aiyuk has 881 yards and we’re in Week 12. It’s probably worth noting the 49ers offense is a long way removed from back in the day when receivers like Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin would go just above 1k for the season. And this post is just about Brandon Aiyuk, we aren’t even mentioning Christian McCaffrey or Deebo Samuel.
In case you didn’t know, Aiyuk is going to be breaking the bank on an extension. How the 49ers manage to keep him is going to be cap wizardry we’ve never seen before. It is possible, I asked Jason Hurley, friend of the site and 49ers cap guru at 49erscap.com if it was possible to extend Aiyuk AND defensive lineman Chase Young and he had this to say:
I mean yeah they could make it work, would mean some combo of Lenoir, Gregory, Banks, & Hufanga are gone, or let to test FA, Gregory would be cut, you wouldn't want 3 DEs making $14M+ a yr.— Jason Hurley/SF=$39,535,544 MIN=$7,255,079 (@49erscap) October 31, 2023
Plus you have Javon making $21M a yr, and AA likely to be extended next year, $17M a yr IMO, he might take a pay cut to stick around, he's a good player, I don't get the hate of Armstead. But it's doable, just means we lose some players, Gregory for sure is cut.— Jason Hurley/SF=$39,535,544 MIN=$7,255,079 (@49erscap) October 31, 2023
Jason has forgotten more about salary cap than I’ll ever ever learn. So he’s probably the guy to ask if this is even doable. If Ji’Ayir Brown works out, there’s a possible Hufanga replacement if the above circumstances were met.
While I love Chase Young and he’s certainly helped the defense, Aiyuk is a piece that might be irreplaceable for the 49ers. This offseason will be one of the trickiest to navigate for the front office if they want to keep the pieces together.
I mean, if you can win a Super Bowl with this team, you gotta try for the two-peat right?