49ers have no logical reason to fine Brandon Aiyuk if holdout continues

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

While the Brandon Aiyuk saga continues to unfold, it's fair to wonder if the 49ers will fine him if he opts to hold out into training camp.

Every year, the San Francisco 49ers seemingly have some high-profile contract standoff with one of their star players.

Two years ago, it was All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel, whose negotiations included a trade request before ultimately reaching an agreement on a new extension.

Last year, it was the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, defensive end Nick Bosa, whose holdout extended all the way through training camp and nearly cut into the regular season.

This year, it's wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk seeking a new contract.

In Samuel's case, he opted to attend mandatory minicamp but was planning on attending training camp in a "hold in" kind of status. He'd physically be present but wouldn't participate in practices until a new deal was reached, thereby avoiding fines but maintaining some leverage over the organization.

However, Aiyuk's case figures to be a bit different.

The Niners' leading receiver from the last two seasons opted not to attend mandatory minicamp earlier this month, which means San Francisco could levy fines against him. While no official trade request has been declared, the two sides remain apart in negotiations, although both parties met twice this week in Santa Clara, California.

It's possible a contract extension happens at any moment, although the 49ers have a history of doing such deals right near the start of camp, which begins in late July.

Should talks continue to falter, and Aiyuk maintains his holdout, would the Niners opt to fine him?

Probably not. Let's examine why.

Don't expect 49ers to fine Brandon Aiyuk if he skips training camp

Samuel executed a hold-in. Bosa did not.

According to the current collective bargaining agreement between the league and players union, teams can fine players $40,000 per day for being absent from camp. Without being a math major, it's not hard to see how that number can get expensive for missing nearly a month's worth of time.

Yet San Francisco opted not to fine Bosa, citing the fact he was playing on his fully guaranteed fifth-year option, which is the same case for Aiyuk (at least right now) entering 2024.

Granted, Aiyuk isn't a reigning Offensive Player of the Year, as was the case with Bosa on the defensive side after leading the league with 18.5 sacks. One could argue the 49ers have far more leverage over AIyuk than they did with Bosa last season, especially with Samuel still very much in the mix and after using a first-round draft choice on rookie wide receiver Ricky Pearsall.

But the Niners already set a precedent by not fining Bosa. While they may continue to drive a hard bargain at the negotiating table, levying fines on Aiyuk might not exactly be the best measure of good faith.

Of course, getting that contract done sooner than later would relieve any wonder of whether or not this would even happen.

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