Insider says 49ers are likely to extend Brandon Aiyuk, not trade him

The Niners do have a notable track record of paying their best stars, and it appears as if Brandon Aiyuk is next in line.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

ESPN's Nick Wagoner doesn't feel as if the 49ers will trade Brandon Aiyuk amid extension negotiations. Instead, a deal is likely to get done.

The San Francisco 49ers were well aware of the fact they'd eventually have to pony up cash to pay their top wide receiver from the last two seasons, Brandon Aiyuk.

As general manager John Lynch has mentioned several times in recent years, the Niners prefer to extend deserving players one year before their current contracts expire. Heading into the fully guaranteed fifth-year option on the rookie contract signed back after the 2020 NFL Draft, Aiyuk is now at that point.

He wants to be paid accordingly, and his statements about such have been documented well enough.

San Francisco's financial resources are limited, thanks largely to boasting an extremely talented roster with plenty of players on top-dollar contracts. Plus, with quarterback Brock Purdy's own lucrative contract extension looming a year from now, the 49ers can't simply write Aiyuk a proverbial blank check.

With that as a backdrop, it's understandable why some feel Aiyuk could be traded at some point this offseason. After all, back in 2020, the Niners traded star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner when they couldn't reach an agreement on the extension he was seeking.

But the context is different entering 2024. And one San Francisco insider feels as if the team will strike a deal with Aiyuk instead of shipping him off.

ESPN insider says 49ers are more likely to extend Brandon Aiyuk than trade him

ESPN's 49ers insider, Nick Wagoner, is in the camp of those who feel a new deal for Aiyuk is the stronger possibility over a would-be trade.

Citing other extension challenges, Wagoner highlighted the trend the Niners have for getting deals done:

"In each of the past four offseasons, the San Francisco 49ers have meticulously worked on signing one of their emerging young stars to a lucrative contract extension. It has become a tradition that is equal parts exciting and exasperating for those involved.

Each of those deals -- tight end George Kittle (2020), linebacker Fred Warner (2021), receiver Deebo Samuel (2022) and end Nick Bosa (2023) -- offered a unique challenge with varying degrees of tension.

Samuel's negotiations were the most contentious, including a trade request that wasn't granted. Bosa's deal took the longest, nearly keeping him out of last season's opener against the Steelers.

Amid rumors and speculation, all those extensions eventually got done. It's why, as the Niners and wideout Brandon Aiyuk embark on another attempt at a mutually beneficial payday, the Niners' overriding feeling is one of optimism even as the internet invents nonexistent trade offers."

Even if San Francisco has faced significant hurdles, including Samuel's well-documented trade request, contract extensions were ultimately handed out to the team's top stars.

With Aiyuk's own star on the rise, the only reason why the 49ers wouldn't get a deal done is because his settling price would be way beyond what they'd be willing to pay.

It's hard to see that being the case even if the market for top wide receivers has exploded in recent seasons.

Wagoner continued:

"A deal of the magnitude Aiyuk desires is never easy. The 49ers clearly want to keep him and, it seems, Aiyuk wants to stay. Could that change? Sure, but only if the Niners are blown away by a trade offer and/or Aiyuk's demands far exceed what they'd be willing to pay."

This helps explain why negotiations drag on not for weeks but for months. There's an excellent chance no deal is reached until well after the 2024 NFL Draft at the end of April, perhaps spreading into offseason workouts and even training camp.

But, at least according to Wagoner, the odds seem much more likely for Aiyuk sticking around than playing elsewhere in 2024 and beyond.

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