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NFC Contender Could Trade Into Top Five By Dealing Veteran Wideout

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is at the center of trade rumors, and one writer believes a surprising suitor could emerge.
Brandon Aiyuk Trade

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has been the subject of trade talks throughout the offseason. While the 49ers themselves say they won’t deal the veteran, it’s easy to read between the lines here. Aiyuk’s friends and family have openly said the wide receiver won’t be back, and Aiyuk himself has called out the front office for “bullshit” comments. Perhaps the 49ers and Aiyuk find a way to make amends, but all signs point towards a trade.

Contract issues also increase the likelihood of a Brandon Aiyuk trade. San Francisco does not have much salary cap space, and they need to set aside what little money they have for the inevitable Brock Purdy extension. With Deebo Samuel already earning a high salary, the team probably cannot afford to keep all three playmakers.

The San Francisco 49ers will want at least a first-round pick in a Brandon Aiyuk trade, and ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes they could get more than that. In a recent article, the NFL analysts proposed a deal where the Chargers get Aiyuk, the 31st-overall pick, and the 94th-overall pick in exchange for the fifth-overall pick and the 181st overall pick.

ESPN Analyst Proposes Blockbuster Trade Between Chargers, Brandon Aiyuk

This is a blockbuster trade proposal, so let’s look at the rough value. Using the modified trade value chart, the Chargers give up 476 points of draft capital in exchange for Aiyuk and 231 points. This means that Brandon Aiyuk is worth roughly the 23rd overall pick in a trade, which aligns with his market value.

The proposed Brandon Aiyuk trade makes sense both from a value standpoint and a fit standpoint. The 49ers would love the opportunity to earn a top-five pick and select Malik Nabers or Marvin Harrison Jr., while the Chargers need a proven playmaker to pair with Justin Herbert. As a bonus, they land a late first-round pick and should be able to find a starting-caliber tackle in a talented draft class. Someone like Tyler Guyton, Kingsley Suamataia, or the rising Patrick Paul should be available and can start right away.

Of course, the Chargers aren’t the only team linked to Brandon Aiyuk in trade talks. Several other organizations could be willing to give up their first-round pick for an elite player entering the prime of his career, even if it means also handing out a massive contract.

Other Potential Destinations

Pittsburgh Steelers

With Diontae Johnson in Carolina, the Steelers could use another wide receiver opposite George Pickens. Russell Wilson is not the player he once was, but the quarterback can still be productive in the right environment. Giving Wilson two great receivers and pairing him with one of the league’s better defenses should give this team a good chance at a deep playoff run.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars lost out on Calvin Ridley, which means they must find a new top option in this passing attack. While Christian Kirk and Gabe Davis are both solid role players, Brandon Aiyuk is a vastly superior player who could elevate this team in a trade. Seeing as the Houston Texans are going all-in on C.J. Stroud’s rookie contract, Jacksonville will need to make a bold move if they want to keep up in the division.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers don’t have a first-round pick, so they’ll need to get creative if they want to trade for Brandon Aiyuk. While the team could select a rookie early in the second round, they need to land a proven playmaker if they want to salvage Bryce Young’s career. Just like how Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, and A.J. Brown helped Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, and Jalen Hurts, Aiyuk can be Young’s much-needed top option.

Kansas City Chiefs

Rashee Rice will face league discipline for his role in the six-car crash, which means the Chiefs will need another wide receiver. Seeing as Marquise Brown is playing on a one-year deal and Travis Kelce is getting older, Kansas City could trade for Brandon Aiyuk and make him the next focal point of the passing offense.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens gave Lamar Jackson two reliable receivers, and he turned that support into an MVP award. Just imagine what he could do if they upgraded Odell Beckham with a trade for Brandon Aiyuk. This offense needs as much firepower as it can get if they want to emerge from a loaded AFC, and Aiyuk could be the missing piece in this puzzle.

Main Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck – USA Today Sports


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