Should the 49ers Trade Brandon Aiyuk to the Steelers for Darnell Washington?

If the 49ers wanted Washington, I'm guessing they would have made this trade by now.
Nov 26, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Darnell Washington (80) completes a catch in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Darnell Washington (80) completes a catch in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports / Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
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The Steelers have been trying to trade for Brandon Aiyuk all offseason.

If they had offered the 49ers their first-round pick in exchange for Aiyuk, he probably would be a Steeler right now. But they still could have an opportunity to trade for him in a few months if the 49ers' contract negotiations with Aiyuk don't progress.

Bleacher Report's Alex Kay proposes that the 49ers could trade Aiyuk to the Steelers in exchange for a first-round pick in 2025 and tight end Darnell Washington.

"A first-round pick should get the 49ers' brass listening," writes Kay, "while adding in Darnell Washington—the massive tight end who Pittsburgh brought in with the No. 93 overall pick last year—could sweeten the pot enough to get a deal done. Washington's rookie stats may not jump off the page, but the raw 6'7", 264-pounder could flourish in head coach Kyle Shanahan's creative San Francisco offense. The 22-year-old would immediately slot in as a capable blocking tight end with the upside to replace George Kittle as a top receiving threat down the line."

This is an intriguing offer. The 49ers have been searching for an heir apparent to Kittle for quite some time, and Washington has the talent to be that player. He was a third-round pick last year and would have gotten drafted earlier if not for injury concerns.

But Washington had just 7 catches last season as a rookie and a mere 45 catches total in college. Trading Aiyuk, an All Pro wide receiver, for a tight end who has 52 catches since high school is extremely risky.

If the 49ers wanted Washington, I'm guessing they would have made this trade by now.


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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.