Why the Steelers Believe They'll Acquire 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

And do they really think they can get him for a second-rounder?
Sep 10, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19)
Sep 10, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers must know something we don't.

In the Bay Area, most fans expect the 49ers to extend Brandon Aiyuk's contract at some point this offseason. They think this contract drama is a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing. But in Pittsburgh, the Steelers seem extremely confident that Aiyuk will play for them next season, not the 49ers.

AllSteelers publisher Noah Strackbein recently reported that a team source told him the Steelers would be surprised if they didn't trade for Aiyuk. Then Strackbein speculated that the deal could get done for a mere second-round pick and change.

Why are the Steelers so confident that they'll get Aiyuk? And do they really think they can get him for a second-rounder?

I'm guessing the Steelers have been in contact with Aiyuk's agent and presented him with a potential contract extension that pleases Aiyuk and exceeds what the 49ers have offered and might be willing to offer. So Pittsburgh might have outbid the 49ers already.

If that's the case, if the 49ers know Aiyuk has a contract offer they can't or won't match, then the next step is to negotiate a trade with the Steelers, and that's the tricky part. The 49ers obviously would want a first-round pick in exchange for Aiyuk, and Pittsburgh clearly would prefer to trade a second-rounder. So the haggling has begun.

The 49ers and the Steelers have a week to come to an agreement on a trade for Aiyuk. I'm guessing they'll come to an agreement at the final hour, as teams often do.


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Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN