Brandon Aiyuk Could be Entering His Final Season with the 49ers

This holdout could get messy.
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) runs with the ball against Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid (20) during the first quarter of Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) runs with the ball against Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid (20) during the first quarter of Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's possible the 49ers and Brandon Aiyuk will agree to a contract extension in the next couple of months. It's also possible they won't.

The 49ers just might not want to give Brandon Aiyuk $30 million per season, and Aiyuk just might not want to play for a team that doesn't feature him. Which means the two sides could be headed for divorce.

The 49ers explored trading Aiyuk before the draft, but no team offered them a first-round pick. If they could have gotten a first for Aiyuk, I'm guessing they would have taken it. But the most they could have gotten for Aiyuk was a second-round pick. So trading him this year didn't make sense.

The 49ers can keep Aiyuk for 2024 and pay him less than half of what he wants, then franchise tag him next year and trade him for a second-round pick. The Chiefs do this all the time with good players they don't want to pay. First, they tagged and traded Dee Ford for a second-round pick in 2019, then the 49ers gave him a ridiculously foolish extension. And this offseason, the Chiefs tagged and traded L'Jarius Snead to the Titans for a 2025 third-round pick so Tennesse could give him an extension.

I wouldn't be surprised if the 49ers do the same thing with Aiyuk. They just drafted his replacement in Ricky Pearsall. I'm not saying Pearsall is as good as Aiyuk, but they have similar skill sets and Pearsall wouldn't be here if the 49ers were eager to capitulate to Aiyuk's demands.

This holdout could get messy.


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Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN

Grant Cohn has covered the San Francisco 49ers daily since 2011. He spent the first nine years of his career with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat where he wrote the Inside the 49ers blog and covered famous coaches and athletes such as Jim Harbaugh, Colin Kaepernick and Patrick Willis. In 2012, Inside the 49ers won Sports Blog of the Year from the Peninsula Press Club. In 2020, Cohn joined FanNation and began writing All49ers. In addition, he created a YouTube channel which has become the go-to place on YouTube to consume 49ers content. Cohn's channel typically generates roughly 3.5 million viewers per month, while the 49ers' official YouTube channel generates roughly 1.5 million viewers per month. Cohn live streams almost every day and posts videos hourly during the football season. Cohn is committed to asking the questions that 49ers fans want answered, and providing the most honest and interactive coverage in the country. His loyalty is to the reader and the viewer, not the team or any player or coach. Cohn is a new-age multimedia journalist with an old-school mentality, because his father is Lowell Cohn, the legendary sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1979 to 1993. The two have a live podcast every Tuesday. Grant Cohn grew up in Oakland and studied English Literature at UCLA from 2006 to 2010. He currently lives in Oakland with his wife.