What would a 49ers trade of Brandon Aiyuk look like?

This would never happen, right?


San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Tom Hauck/GettyImages

The 49ers don't want to trade Brandon Aiyuk. But if they did, how would such a deal go down?

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is under contract with the San Francisco 49ers for one more season.

However, entering the fully guaranteed fifth-year option of his rookie contract, Aiyuk is also up for what should be a hefty contract extension. And despite the NFL giving a substantial increase to its salary cap for 2024, the Niners are still pressed up against that number and may have a tough time finding the financial means to meet Aiyuk's deserved demands.

General manager John Lynch is already on record, saying San Francisco wants to keep its leading receiver from the last two seasons around for a long time.

It's not unlike what Lynch said about defensive tackle DeForest Buckner back in 2020, though, before trading him to the Indianapolis Colts after the two parties couldn't come to terms on a contract extension.

Granted, the stronger likelihood has the 49ers working out a deal for Aiyuk at some point soon. And he is under contract anyway if the two can't work out a deal.

But, if the Niners wanted to maximize their return, what would a possible trade look like?

What would 49ers get in a Brandon Aiyuk trade?

Aiyuk unfortunately doesn't command the same sort of name recognition as other star wide receivers in the league, such as Davante Adams or Justin Jefferson. And most NFL fans are much more familiar with Aiyuk's teammate, Deebo Samuel, than they are Aiyuk.

Still, there are plenty of teams that need receiving help, and 31 other teams saw what Aiyuk was able to do for San Francisco in its run up to the Super Bowl last season.

The first step for Lynch and Co., though, would be finding a suitor.

The Kansas City Chiefs desperately need a No. 1 wideout. But, considering KC could easily be a team the 49ers end up seeing in the Super Bowl again in February of 2025, cross that possibility off the list.

In fact, trading within the NFC might be something Lynch won't want to do anyway.

The New York Jets could be a potential fit, especially considering quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs receiver help, and the Niners have ties with head coach Robert Saleh. But, like San Francisco, Gang Green is dealing with salary cap problems of its own and probably wouldn't have the means to offer Aiyuk the contract he wants.

Another team out of the NFC, though, is the Tennessee Titans.

Still going through a rebuild and now in the post-head coach Mike Vrabel era, the Titans also have ties to San Francisco with general manager Ran Carthon, a Lynch understudy who is too familiar with Aiyuk. Tennessee also has over $75 million in cap space this season and over $136 million available in 2025, too, perfect for a long-term deal for a top-flight receiver.

How would the trade go down, though?

It's unlikely the Titans would dish out their top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, No. 7 overall, straight up for Aiyuk. While enticing, there'd probably have to be a little more in such a package.

The 49ers could potentially get it, though, if they engineered a deal similar to the one below.

Brandon Aiyuk trade

In return, the Niners get a top-10 pick in this years draft and a Round 5 selection, and Lynch has historically done well in that round for whatever the reasons.

The Titans, meanwhile, lose their first-round pick but pick up a proven player on the ascent while also landing one of San Francisco's third-round pick to help bolster other areas of need via a top-100 selection.

It's enticing enough to be reality, but the real reality is probably shifted toward Aiyuk not going anywhere.

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