Scuttlebutt surrounding Brandon Aiyuk trade rumors got even more confusing

There are yet more conflicting takes about Brandon Aiyuk's future.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Aiyuk's future with the 49ers remains murky as insiders are speculating multiple outcomes that conflict with each other.

Will the San Francisco 49ers finally offer a likable contract extension to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk?

Will Aiyuk and the Niners fail to come to an agreement, potentially leaving him to play out the final year of his current deal before hitting free agency in 2025?

If no deal is reached, would San Francisco trade Aiyuk to the highest bidder? If so, when?

As one can see, there are plenty of plausible outcomes for the 49ers' leading receiver from the last two years. And that has led to plenty of speculation about what might happen over the next few weeks and months.

Some of the rumors have been fueled by Aiyuk himself, claiming on social media the Niners "don't want me back," while multiple insiders felt that take was absolutely incorrect.

It's muddy.

Yet things are getting muddier still, which only reinforces just how convoluted the situation between Aiyuk and San Francisco currently is.

One insider claims Brandon Aiyuk will still be traded, another suggests 49ers will extend him

The Pittsburgh Steelers are among the teams frequently discussed when looking at possible Aiyuk trade partners.

Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fueled some of that speculation earlier this offseason by claiming the Steelers would make a run at the 49ers wideout. Earlier this week, Fittipaldo doubled down on his statements during an appearance in Pittsburgh's 97.3 The Fan (h/t Steelers Depot) and said how Steelers general manager Omar Khan would simply wait it out until the Aiyuk-Niners situation became untenable:

"I think for the Steelers, I think they're interested, but I think they're interested at their price, and I think what Omar Khan is gonna do is he's gonna wait until it gets really uncomfortable for John Lynch and [head coach] Kyle Shanahan. And if you've noticed, Aiyuk is kind of starting to make it uncomfortable for the 49ers."

Perhaps that happens. But things would have to devolve to a serious point between Aiyuk and San Francisco, especially considering the fact he is under contract through 2025 and a Super Bowl-contending 49ers team wouldn't have any sort of equally valuable asset to gain in return that would help them win now.

So, in contrast to Fittipaldo's take, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer told Colin Cowherd that a deal between Aiyuk and the Niners likely gets done, speculating things are just in the final stretch.

"That's not that far off," Breer said (h/t 49ers Webzone) of the difference between Aiyuk's reported $30 million per-year asking price and the last reported San Francisco offer of $26 million per year. "And a lot of times, these things get ugliest towards the end."

Breer also cited the 49ers' need to lock up All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey first, which has been completed now, before turning financial attention to Aiyuk.

"I still think the Niners would like to get something done with Aiyuk," Breer concluded. "And I don't think the door is closed on that."

Breer's comments don't mean things will never get too contested between Aiyuk and San Francisco. But the SI insider is clearly leaning toward an extension getting done instead of a trade going through.

Until one thing happens over the other, though, trade rumors versus extension speculation will continue.

Read more from Niner Noise