What’s Realistic In A Brandon Aiyuk Trade?

The Niners are on the clock in moving Aiyuk for fair value.
Nov 12, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) and
Nov 12, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) and / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

In 48 hours, the 49ers trading Brandon Aiyuk moved from “anything is possible” to “what can they really get for him?”

The Detroit Lions signed wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to a four-year $120 million deal with $77 million guaranteed. While the Niners don’t have to give that to Aiyuk they’d need to come close, say $28 million per with $75 million guaranteed. If they were willing to offer that, Aiyuk would have signed an extension already.

In making their deal with St. Brown, Detroit may have pushed Brandon Aiyuk out the door. The Niners may no longer afford to keep him.

Now what?

The word for weeks is no team will give a first-round pick for Brandon Aiyuk, the Niners want too much. Mike Silver’s report for the San Francisco Chronicle quotes an NFL executive saying a 2nd round pick and a 2025 3rd might get a deal done. The Faithful would disagree vehemently, would Kyle Shanahan?

Maybe there’s room for a compromise with a team that could use Aiyuk for a number of reasons. What Shanahan needs to search for is a deal that approaches the trade value of a 1st and a 4th through Day 2 picks over multiple seasons.

  1. Washington

The Commanders can bring Jayden Danels and Aiyuk back to their days together at Arzona State. College teammates worked for Cincinnati with Joe Burrow and JaMarr Chase. Daniels gets the security blanket target that Aiyuk provides for Brock Purdy.

New General Manager Adam Peters knows better than every GM but one of the value that Aiyuk brings on the field, in practice, and in the locker room. On a team needing to build culture, Aiyuk can be a team leader on day one.

Faithful ask for both 2nds, 36 and 40, but that equates to the 15th pick, it’s an unrealistic overpay.

The helpful element with Washington is they have two 2nd round picks and three 3rds this year, they can keep a pick in a round and still deal one out.

Washington trade offer for Aiyuk: 40, 100, and a 2025 conditional 3rd to 5th round pick based on games played, stats, and awards (All-Pro, Pro Bowl).

Fans say no deal, but Shanahan and John Lynch may not have a choice. They can’t pay Aiyuk, and an impasse can lead to a long holdout. Aiyuk could sit for 11 games and still accrue the year in the final six.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah speculated yesterday that in talking with teams he believes Indianapolis and Jacksonville may be in play for an Aiyuk trade.

2.      Indianapolis

Colts Head Coach Shane Steichen may value a reliable vet #1 receiver for Anthony Richardson that can also help in the run game. Taking a chance on DeForest Buckner worked out for Indy, maybe that leads them to Aiyuk.

Rumors indicate Indianapolis hopes to trade up for Marvin Harrison Jr. or Brock Bowers, failing that they could be open to an Aiyuk trade. However, they want Aiyuk and 31 for 15, which doesn’t work for the Niners, they want a mid-1st while keeping 31 to use that pick on a replacement recever, but that may be too big an ask.

Indy trade offer: 44, 117 and a 2025 Conditional 2nd to 3rd.

I realize fans want a first-round pick, I just don’t think a team is willing unless they get 31 in addition to Aiyuk. Then it’s up to Shanahan and Lynch to balance out the rest of the deal, possibly with a conditional 2025 pick.

3.    Jacksonville

Jags GM Trent Baalke has proven he can’t draft wide receivers, so a move for Aiyuk makes sense. But Aiyuk straight across for 17 is likely too rich for him. As with Indy the task is likely, Aiyuk and 31 for 17 and x. With x being an exceptionally difficult negotiation over a 2025 conditional pick.

The Niners have a valuable asset in Aiyuk, but they don’t bring much leverage to the trade talks, particularly after St. Brown’s deal.

Jacksonville trade offer: 17 and a 2025 Conditional 4th to 5th round pick for Aiyuk and 31.

The Niners face a league that knows they likely have to move on, that Aiyuk’s trade value won’t be higher than now, and that the 49ers need a mid-1st to get one of the impact tackles.

Aiyuk and 31 for a mid-1st and x. Do they give in to get the mid-1st? X marks the spot the Niners are in as the draft begins.

Grant Cohn