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Panthers, Chargers Should Take Advantage of Star Receiver’s Stalled Contract Talks

Brandon Aiyuk and the San Francisco 49ers are not making progress in contract talks, which could open the window for a trade.
Brandon Aiyuk Trade

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has not shied away from his trade demands. A first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Arizona State product is entering the final year of his rookie deal following a massive 1,300-yard season. However, despite the success, the wide receiver is frustrated with the team, as evidenced by comments from his girlfriend, close friends, and social media posts. There is some bad blood here and, while money can heal all wounds, the two sides are struggling to come to terms on a new contract.

During a recent appearance on SportsCenter, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that negotiations between the 49ers and Aiyuk have not “intensified,” especially after Justin Jefferson’s recent extension likely established Aiyuk’s value as “$30 million and above.” If talks continue to stall, San Francisco could trade Brandon Aiyuk, and the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers should be the first teams on the phone.

Panthers, Chargers, Should Pursue A Brandon Aiyuk Trade

How Did We Get Here?

Before talking about the Panthers and Chargers, we first need to establish why the 49ers would trade Brandon Aiyuk in the first place. In addition to the contract struggles, Aiyuk is somewhat expendable in this loaded offense. Even if the team parts ways with him, they still have George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, and first-round pick Ricky Pearsall set to catch passes from Brock Purdy. Samuel has also been the subject of trade talks, and there is a good chance at least one of the star veterans will not play for San Francisco this year.

Reading between the lines, the 49ers would probably prefer to keep Brandon Aiyuk and trade Deebo Samuel. Aiyuk is a traditional WR1 capable of winning on the outside, while Samuel is more of a do-everything swiss army knife whose skillset is somewhat redundant with McCaffrey on the roster. However, with that disclaimer out of the way, the 49ers will keep Samuel if they can’t come to terms with Aiyuk.

Panthers, Chargers Fits

The Carolina Panthers must figure out what they have in Bryce Young. After dealing with arguably the worst supporting cast in football, Carolina went all-out to find reliable weapons for 2024. Diontae Johnson is a fine short-term answer and Xavier Legette has long-term promise, but the Panthers could still use a superstar. Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, and A.J. Brown got the most out of their respective untested quarterbacks, and Aiyuk is good enough to do the same for Young. The Panthers made a mistake giving up D.J. Moore before Young could step foot in the building, and this could rectify that terrible decision with a Brandon Aiyuk trade.

Justin Herbert is unquestionably the franchise quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers, and head coach Jim Harbaugh should be an upgrade on Brandon Staley. However, an offense is only as good as its players, and the Chargers don’t have a single proven receiver. Second-round rookie Ladd McConkey has promise, but that’s about all there is on this depth chart. Brandon Aiyuk would give this team the superstar it so desperately needs, and a trade could give them the firepower to compete with the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West crown.

Main Photo: Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports


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