Brad Graham founded “The SF Niners” and has built a social brand, especially on Instagram and YouTube, that’s more than a fan page. Brad’s hosted multiple players, which shows you how respected he is, and recently sat down with 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
The two discussed everything from playing the Eagles to Brock Purdy, so let’s start with the quarterback. Aiyuk was complimentary of Purdy’s play. That goes without saying, but Aiyuk’s context helped put into perspective what Purdy was asked to do:
“And I think, for me, the thing is, that was rookie Brock Purdy. That was halfway-into-the-season, hand-over-the-keys Brock Purdy.
So we weren’t sure what that was going to look like going into this offseason. But one thing that he does know for sure is that he can play at this level, and he could be a top quarterback in this league, so I don’t think it’ll do anything but fuel him. So I’m excited to see what he does in the rest of his career.”
After acknowledging how disappointing Purdy’s injury was, Aiyuk said he was looking forward to Brock being able to show who he really is as a player:
“It makes you or breaks you. And from what I’ve seen from him, it don’t look like much breaks him. So I hope he has a great offseason, he gets the rehab that he needs, he gets the recovery that he needs, and he gets to show who Brock Purdy is.”
A healthy quarterback competition between a pair of quarterbacks on rookie contracts could be the best thing for both Trey Lance and Purdy. But Purdy has to be healthy to compete.
Business is business
Lance was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. From a business perspective, he’s going to be afforded more chances than Purdy.
Aiyuk understands the NFL is a business. San Francisco will decide whether they want to exercise Aiyuk’s fifth-year option, sign him to a healthy extension, or trade him for value. Aiyuk told brad he loves playing in The Bay and being a 49er, but also wants to maximize his talents:
“I’m a competitor. I want to compete. I want to maximize everything that I have in my body and put on display, as a football player, when I put that name on the back of my jersey. As for the front of the jersey, I would love to be a 49er.
Like I spoke to earlier, this is a business. I got a couple of people that share my last name that I need to take care of. If they want to take care of me, then I would love to be here. But we all know it’s much harder than that and it’s a tough business. It’s hard work.”
Even the most casual fan can see that Aiyuk is far more talented than the numbers he’s put up early in his career. But will the 49ers pay Aiyuk for the player he can be? Thankfully, it’s not a decision that needs to be made in the same offseason that’ll involve paying Nick Bosa.
Here’s more from Aiyuk:
“Every player has a vision for what they want to be as a player, and they want to be able to fully show that and be compensated for that. The ball ain’t in my court. I’m going to go to work after I enjoy my time off and reflect on the season. I’m going back to work. I know what I’m about. I’m sure everybody in that building knows what I’m about. So if they want me to be a 49er I’m sure we can get that done.”
Aiyuk’s game has grown tremendously since the time he stepped foot in the NFL. San Francisco would be wise to pay Aiyuk in a league where the value of wide receivers that can win on the perimeter goes up by the day.
Be sure to watch Brad’s full interview with Aiyuk, who was open and honest throughout.