Brandon Aiyuk trade chatter won't go away (Commanders seem to be the favorites)

You're not going to escape Brandon Aiyuk trade speculation at any point soon.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Until Brandon Aiyuk receives a new contract, it seems as if the Commanders will be a rumored trade partner if the 49ers ultimately decide to deal.

Another week, another speculative suggestion about the San Francisco 49ers trading disgruntled wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

At this point, explaining the context has become redundant. Entering his fully guaranteed fifth-year option, Aiyuk wants a new contract, one that likely pays him an annual average of $30 million per year. Meanwhile, the cap-stressed Niners are likely eyeing a deal worth in the range of $26 million per season.

The two sides are at a high-profile standoff, even though San Francisco has a history of officially extending its players right before (or at the beginning of) training camp, which begins later this month.

Until a new deal is reached, though, pundits across the league are going to continue speculating on Aiyuk's future, specifically one involving a blockbuster trade.

No surprise, it just happened again.

Bleacher Report cites links with Commanders in potential Brandon Aiyuk trade

For a while, the Pittsburgh Steelers appeared to be the rumored favorites to land the 49ers' leading receiver from the last two seasons, provided the Niners ultimately hit an impasse and elected to trade him.

Now, though, the focus has shifted to the Washington Commanders.

It makes sense. San Francisco has a direct pipeline to Washington, namely because first-year general manager Adam Peters spent 2017 through 2023 on 49ers general manager John Lynch's staff.

But, beyond that, Aiyuk is also close with the Commanders' quarterback, Jayden Daniels, with whom he played at Arizona State and has publicly shared his frustrations about extension talks.

Perhaps that's why Bleacher Report's Ryan Fowler suggested the Niners could trade Aiyuk to Washington in a deal that would send back its second-round pick in 2025 and a 2026 Round 3 selection:

"While recent news has indicated that Brandon Aiyuk is likely to remain in San Francisco for 2024, the tide can change quickly in the NFL.

A trade of Aiyuk would indicate a few things. One, in that San Francisco brass were ultimately forced to throw in the towel on extending their star wideout. The other in that former Niners assistant GM Adam Peters (now in Washington) isn't shying away from acquiring a player of Aiyuk's caliber to place around his new signal-caller Jayden Daniels, a close friend of Aiyuk.

It was just weeks ago when Daniels, Aiyuk's teammate during their time at Arizona State, joined the Niners' wideout on FaceTime to discuss Aiyuk's plans."

A few things about this, though.

San Francisco accepting anything less than a first-round pick for Aiyuk seems remote, at best. And it's important to note that Aiyuk is still under contract for 2024, and the 49ers could apply the franchise tag on the receiver in 2025 and 2026, too, even though that'd be an unpopular route to take.

Plus, and certainly more importantly, nothing in return would help the Niners' Super Bowl aspirations right now. Removing Aiyuk from the offense in exchange for two day-two draft picks does nothing to help San Francisco get back into the Super Bowl this upcoming season.

It'd be one thing if Washington threw in a top player in the trade, but that's not what Fowler suggested.

But, analysts continue to speculate about it, even though the likelihood of anything of this sort happening is almost non-existent.

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