Insider says Brandon Aiyuk trade is 'very much in play' leading to NFL Draft

Don't count out a Brandon Aiyuk trade just yet, folks.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers are indeed exploring the possibility of trading Brandon Aiyuk between now and the NFL Draft.

On Monday, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch reiterated the stance that he wants wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to be part of the team "for the rest of his career."

A day later, the San Francisco Chronicle's Mike Silver reported the Niners were, at the very least, exploring contingency options.

The developments up to this point are pretty straightforward. Aiyuk, entering the fully guaranteed fifth-year option of his current contract, wants an extension. One that'll likely pay him approximately $25 million per season.

San Francisco, dealing with salary cap challenges, is going to be hard-pressed to afford Aiyuk on a new deal. And while Lynch and Co. have said all the right things about negotiations and conversations, the door remains open for a would-be trade involving the team's leading receiver from the last two seasons.

One that'd likely take place at some point between now and the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, which kicks off on Thursday, April 25.

What Silver revealed is telling:

"All I know is that as of Monday night, when I posed the question to a 49ers source with direct knowledge of the team’s plans, the words I kept hearing were “anything’s possible.”

Earlier, I spoke to another team’s general manager who insisted that, because the 49ers and Aiyuk are far apart on negotiations for a lucrative contract extension, the fifth-year receiver is “very much in play.”

During the first week of April, the 49ers — through a back-channel confidant — reached out to at least one GM to gauge his interest in trading for Aiyuk. The GM in question chose not to engage, partly because this is considered a receiver-rich draft."

Related story: 5 potential replacements for Brandon Aiyuk (if 49ers trade him)

There are a few takeaways from this.

First, and understandably so, the 49ers are keeping their options open. It's possible Aiyuk's asking price is far beyond what the Niners are comfortable paying, meaning having an avenue for a trade would be smart.

Second, Aiyuk is still under contract for one more season. San Francisco could do nothing and simply let Aiyuk play out the final year of his current deal.

Lastly, and perhaps most telling, it sounds as if the 49ers have already had trade talks with at least one other team. Now, this might have merely been to gauge what other receiver-needy teams would be willing to offer in return, but it does at least hint at the possibility of a trade happening by Thursday night.

Currently, the Niners are slated to pick at No. 31 overall in the draft. But, with what's being viewed as another terrifically deep wide receiver class, it wouldn't be a shock if Aiyuk finds himself on the move.

At least according to Silver's report.

Read more from Niner Noise