49ers should explore trading these 3 players in 2023

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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The 49ers need every penny this offseason to keep their core together. With that in mind, here are three players the team should consider trading.

The San Francisco 49ers have one of the best rosters in the NFL as evidenced by back-to-back NFC Championship appearances.

However, they also have one of the more expensive rosters, projected to only have $2,529,378 in cap space in 2023 before NFL free agency began, according to Spotrac.

The team’s payroll is only on track to go up, as reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa, nears the end of his rookie deal. The Niners have historically extended players before the final year of their rookie contract, so all signs point to a Bosa megadeal coming this offseason, likely making him the league’s highest-paid defensive player.

With that in mind, the team will need to look critically at its roster and consider trading some assets to lower the cap hit to make room for extensions and free agents.

Here are three names the team should consider moving even if doing so would be tough.

No. 1: 49ers Wide Receiver Brandon Aiyuk

Case in point, this one is tough to write, and surely tough to read. However, it makes too much sense for the team to not consider.

Brandon Aiyuk is a very good wide receiver. After three seasons in the league, he is coming off his first 1,000-yard season and has established himself as one of the NFL’s best. After a rocky second season, Aiyuk put it all together in year three and showed that he is a true receiving threat, even finishing with more receiving yards than superstar Deebo Samuel.

Samuel did miss more games than Aiyuk, but it cannot be argued that Aiyuk has established himself as a true star in the NFL. Many teams in the NFL don’t have a star receiver, and the 49ers now have two. Samuel has been extended, but Aiyuk has yet to be paid and will surely be expensive if the Niners do extend him.

Because of that, now is the perfect time for the team to move Aiyuk. He will certainly leave behind a hole on San Francisco’s offense, but if anyone can scheme up ways to fill it, it’s head coach Kyle Shanahan.

The team would save on cap space now by moving Aiyulk, and it’d save in the future by not having to extend him to the expensive contract he has earned.

Add in the fact that teams around the league will be willing to pay up to bring in a player of Aiyuk’s caliber, and this one makes too much sense for the 49ers not to consider.