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Brandon Aiyuk named the best blocking wide receiver by ESPN

They also believe Aiyuk could be on the move.

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

ESPN’s Matt Bowen had a traits-based article where he went through each position and identified who was the best. For example, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was named the best blocking wide receiver in the NFL:

Best blocking receiver: Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers

Aiyuk will win as a blocker on the perimeter — you can see his competitive play style there. He gives a lot of effort to help spring explosive plays, working to the third level to block defenders down the field.

Jauan Jennings may have something to say about that, but it’s a testament to how Aiyuk has bought into the 49ers culture and grown as a player.

San Francisco will face one of the most difficult decisions for any organization this offseason as they decide whether they can continue to invest in the promising wide receiver out of Arizona State.

We’ve seen the Niners reward their homegrown talent with record-setting contract extensions, think George Kittle, Fred Warner, and Deebo Samuel. But we’ve also seen the front office trade away their former first round picks under the Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch regime.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano lumped Aiyuk with Tee Higgins and Stefon Diggs as potential wideouts who could be on the move this offseason:

I’m going to stick with the wide receiver position, though, and mention a few more possibilities: Stefon Diggs, Brandon Aiyuk and Tee Higgins. Diggs’ situation in Buffalo could depend a lot on the way the rest of the Bills’ season goes, as he has had some well-publicized issues with the way things have worked there over the past year and could — if they have another disappointing finish — decide he’d rather be elsewhere. Aiyuk is a brilliant talent whom the 49ers would love to keep, but he’s due for a contract extension, and they can’t keep everyone. Higgins didn’t get the extension he was looking for this offseason, and while he’s a strong candidate for a franchise tag, he also could be on the move if the Bengals were to get a lot in return.

I’m fascinated to see how the outcome of this season for the 49ers impacts their future decisions. It’s clear as day that Aiyuk is a top talent.

On the one hand, he’s a true No. 1 who has made Brock Purdy’s transition as a full-time starter that much easier knowing there’s a reliable third down target he can trust. Think back to Sunday. When’s the last time Kyle Shanahan threw a double move to the same player in one game?

The argument against paying Aiyuk is that he was the fourth leading receiver in a game where the Niners scored over 40 points. In the lone game he missed, the 49ers scored 30 against the Giants.

I’d pay Aiyuk. There aren’t ten better players at the position than him and based on his growth each year, he’s still a few years away from reaching his full potential. Injuries aren’t a concern, either.

Those negotiations won’t be easy for the 49ers.