Commanders, Steelers Were Contenders For WR Brandon Aiyuk

The month of June has been full of news pertaining to the strained contract negotiations between wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers. As things currently stand, it appears that a trade is no longer expected separate the two parties, but negotiations seem to be at a standstill as both sides refuse to cede ground on price. While most all signs are still pointing to Aiyuk playing for San Francisco in 2024, he did mention two other teams whose uniforms he could see himself in should negotiations fall through over the summer.

In his appearance on The Pivot Podcast (video link), Aiyuk was asked what uniform he sees himself playing in next season. “If I were to take a guess, probably a Niner uniform,” he answered. “Probably a Niner uniform. If not a Niners uniform, probably a Washington Commanders uniform. If not a Washington Commanders uniform, probably a Steelers uniform.”

Aiyuk would be a phenomenal addition to either squad. In D.C., the second-team All-Pro wideout would join Terry McLaurin atop the depth chart as Jahan Dotson would return to a WR3 role. Aiyuk would be a massive upgrade over last year’s WR2, Curtis Samuel. Currently, without Aiyuk, Washington has Dotson bumping up to WR2 in his third season as Dyami Brown, Olamide Zaccheus, and Jamison Crowder attempt to hold off third-round rookie Luke McCaffrey for the WR3 job.

Aiyuk would also be an interesting addition to the Commanders due to his history with No. 2 overall pick Jayden Daniels. The rookie out of LSU transferred to Baton Rouge after three years at Arizona State. Daniels’ freshman season in Tempe aligned with Aiyuk’s senior year with the Sun Devils. Working together on offense, Aiyuk led the team with 65 catches for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns. Reuniting the two could be a huge safety blanket for Daniels as he makes the jump to professional play.

It’s been no secret that the Steelers are looking for veteran wide receiver help after sending Diontae Johnson to Carolina. The team currently rosters budding star George Pickens and Van Jefferson, who impressed in 2021 with an 800-yard, six-touchdown season but has faltered in the two seasons since. Pittsburgh also selected Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson in the third round of this year’s draft and are holding out hope that third-year wideout Calvin Austin will blossom soon.

Still adding Aiyuk to the roster in Pittsburgh would be huge for new quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. The Steelers showed early interest in acquiring Aiyuk’s teammate, Deebo Samuel, back around the time of the draft, but should Aiyuk come up in an offer, it’s hard to imagine they would turn him away.

When all is said and done, it’s still widely expected that Aiyuk will remain in the Bay Area for at least next season. The two sides continue to work towards a common goal, but the 49ers seem to be employing similar tactics as they did when extending Samuel two years ago. If that road continues, a new Aiyuk deal could be coming around the end of July, like Samuel’s did. Should things fall through, though, it sounds like Aiyuk is open to a change of scenery.

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