49ers, Brandon Aiyuk Discussing Extension; No Trade On Horizon

The 2022 offseason brought a sea change for wide receiver salaries. During the months when the market transformed, the 49ers needed to navigate complex Deebo Samuel negotiations. Those ending with a three-year deal bring more complications two years later, with Brandon Aiyuk now atop the team’s extension queue.

Like Samuel and Nick Bosa, the subject of an Aiyuk extension has been a talking point for a while. But the 49ers do already have Samuel, George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey signed to top-market deals at their respective positions. This has led to Aiyuk trade rumblings, but GM John Lynch did his best to shoot those down. The eighth-year 49ers front office boss also confirmed the team has begun Aiyuk extension talks.

[RELATED: Brandon Aiyuk Expects To Remain With 49ers]

We’re trying to talk about some parameters of things,” Lynch said, via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows (subscription required). “We’re having discussions. That’s a good thing. There’s no doubt that because we’ve been aggressive so much, there’s some realities that we are going to be faced with moving forward. You just can’t have everybody. But Brandon is somebody that we’d love to keep around.”

If the 49ers are set on giving Samuel a third contract, as his current deal expires following the 2025 season, it would stand to complicate matters for Aiyuk. Brock Purdy has certainly put himself on the extension radar, which will change the 49ers’ roster blueprint. Although Purdy cannot be extended until 2025, contracts for he and Aiyuk — along with a potential third Samuel deal — would line up. Suddenly, this could morph into a Bengals-like situation. Cincinnati followed up its Joe Burrow record-setting re-up with a Tee Higgins franchise tag, as Ja’Marr Chase will be ticketed for a likely record-breaking deal of his own.

Aiyuk just put together a better season than any his 2020 draft classmate has compiled, totaling 1,342 yards and seven touchdown receptions, but he may find himself in the Higgins role. Aiyuk, 26, has not followed the Samuel or Higgins path by requesting a trade, but he is in limbo as of now. Lynch said (via NBC Sports’ Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco) the 49ers have not engaged in trade discussions. However, Aiyuk does not appear to be too pleased by his current standing with the organization (Instagram link).

The 49ers picked up Aiyuk’s fifth-year option, which separates this from the Higgins situation due to the latter being an ex-second-rounder, and Lynch said the team is comfortable with Aiyuk playing on his $14.1MM fifth-year option. The 49ers have made preemptive strikes in the past, with our Adam La Rose reminding of the team’s 2020 DeForest Buckner trade (which came just before the Arik Armstead extension). They also let Mike McGlinchey walk as a free agent, with Trent Williams signed long term.

Unlike McGlinchey, the 49ers would probably roll out a franchise tag for Aiyuk if they are unable to extend him before the March 2025 tag deadline. The team listened to offers for Samuel in April 2022 but circled back to the All-Pro via a three-year, $71.55MM extension that summer. While that complicates the team’s Aiyuk path, McCaffrey’s running back-record deal may not be in the equation by the time the 49ers could have Samuel and Aiyuk attached to high cap numbers.

A trade will be something to monitor, as the Buckner proceedings remind, but the 49ers are currently aiming to extend their 2023 leading receiver. With the Chargers disbanding their Keenan AllenMike Williams duo, only the Buccaneers employ two $20MM-per-year receivers.

We’re going to strive to make that happen,” Lynch said of an Aiyuk extension, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. “Will it be difficult? I’m sure it will be. But we’ve done a good job of that. Are there some trials in those [negotiations]? Sometimes there are. But ultimately that’s all forgotten when you get something done. And I hope that’s the case here.

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