ESPN’s Nick Wagoner reported that the 49ers have received interest in wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk from teams hoping they can trade for the Niners WR1. Wagoner stated that the 49ers have no intention of moving on from Aiyuk.
This would be the 49ers getting out in front of a potential contract they’re unwilling to hand out. Earlier on Monday, general manager John Lynch said, “it probably makes sense to do that. We’re excited about watching Brandon move forward with us” regarding the team picking up Aiyuk’s fifth-year option.
Wagoner believes the 49ers could find themselves in a situation next offseason where they can’t afford to pay Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, but acknowledged a decision doesn’t need to be made this offseason.
Deebo’s contract voids in 2026, when he turns 30. His base salary is cheap for one more season, but that number goes from $1.08 million in ‘23 to $20.9 million in ‘24 and $16.6 million in ‘25.
But Aiyuk is the type of player you build around, not move on from. Aiyuk just turned 25 and is coming off a 1,000 yard season, despite playing with three different quarterbacks. If the 49ers had maintained an ounce of consistency at quarterback during 2022, his stats would have been even better. Also, he hasn’t missed a game during the previous two seasons.
Aiyukk’s fifth-year option would be $14.1 million in 2024, but he’d only cost $3.9 million in 2023. Will it be difficult to pay $43 million total to two receivers? Of course. But that’s a bridge the 49ers should cross once they get there.
From a value perspective, and thinking about who would return more assets, the 49ers might net a better return by moving on from Deebo.