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Should Bills Target Brandon Aiyuk Trade With 49ers?

Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers are struggling to reach terms on a long-term contract. Will the Bills attempt a blockbuster trade for the WR?

Brandon Aiyuk reignited rumors about his future Monday with a post on TikTok saying the San Francisco 49ers “don’t want me back.” The Buffalo Bills remain linked to the situation as their hunt for a No. 1 wide receiver continues to generate headlines.

Aiyuk made the comments during a conversation with Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels, his former college teammate at Arizona State.

The 2023 Second Team All-Pro selection is under contract for 2024 with the Niners, who exercised the fifth-year option in his rookie deal. He skipped mandatory minicamp earlier this month as part of his effort to land a long-term extension, though.

Bills Aiming for Aiyuk Blockbuster With 49ers?

Why The Idea Makes Sense

The Bills don’t feature a proven No. 1 target on their current roster. As it stands, they’re set to enter the campaign with Khalil Shakir, Curtis Samuel, and rookie Keon Coleman as their top three receivers with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Chase Claypool providing depth.

Shakir was terrific during the latter stages of the 2023 season, which is a major reason Buffalo moved on from the high-priced duo of Stefon Diggs (Houston Texans) and Gabe Davis (Jacksonville Jaguars) in the offseason. It’s far too soon to know whether he can be a No. 1 receiver.

Coleman, who was selected at No. 33 overall in this year’s draft, has the physical tools (6’4”, 215 pounds) to become a game-changer but his lack of elite speed creates uncertainty about his maximum potential.

Meanwhile, Samuel has always produced well as a complementary weapon during his seven NFL seasons, but his career high in receiving yards in 851.

So the question is whether the Bills are comfortable playing a season of quarterback Josh Allen’s prime with those three wideouts and tight end Dalton Kincaid as the top four targets.

Aiyuk would instantly transform the offense. The emerging superstar compiled 153 catches for 2,357 yards and 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons in San Francisco. He was ESPN Analytics‘ top-rated wide receiver in 2023 (96 overall rating). He also earned a strong 92.3 grade from Pro Football Focus.

The 26-year-old California native would give Allen the go-to receiver he’s currently lacking, and his arrival would vault the Bills right back toward the forefront of the Super Bowl conversation.

A pass-catching group headlined by Aiyuk, Shakir, Coleman, and Kincaid would be among the NFL’s best.

Why The Idea Doesn’t Make Sense

Money. Sometimes it’s that simple. The Bills have limited financial flexibility this season. Signing Aiyuk to a monster extension would eliminate much of their wiggle room for next year, too. It’s unclear whether general manager Brandon Beane is willing to make that type of move right now.

Buffalo owns $10.1 million in salary-cap space, per Over The Cap. The receiver’s 2024 cap hit stands at $14.1 million. So Beane would have to create room to get him on the roster. The GM is also going to need money throughout the season to sign injury replacements.

The Bills do hold one final card to play to free up significant money: Von Miller. It’s a “break in case of emergency” type of situation.

Miller is coming off a dreadful 2023 season in his return from a torn ACL. He was one of the NFL’s worst players, tallying just three total tackles and no sacks in 12 games.

His release wouldn’t save much money in 2024 ($280,000), so Beane would have work to do in that regard. It does free up $17.5 million in 2025, $20 million in 2026 and $30 million in 2027, according to OTC. So there’s a lot of the cash for an Aiyuk extension.

The Bills seem intent on giving Miller a shot at a bounce-back season, however, and the cap picture is far more restrictive for as long as he’s on the roster.

Final Thoughts On Aiyuk-To-Buffalo Concept

Aiyuk would be a perfect fit for the Bills in an NFL world without a salary cap. His route-running mastery could instantly fill the void left by Diggs in the Buffalo offense.

Alas, the NFL has a cap, which makes a blockbuster between the Bills and the 49ers a long shot. Beane has worked hard throughout the offseason to give himself more financial freedom for 2025. It’s unlikely he’ll want to hamper that with one trade considerably.

While Buffalo’s receiver room isn’t as star-studded as it was in previous years, it’s going to have far more variety this season. So, even without the benefit of a true No. 1 wideout, the unit may improve after getting stagnant at times with the Diggs-Davis tandem.

Perhaps the Aiyuk situation is one the Bills revisit next offseason if he remains without an extension from the Niners.

Main Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


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