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“They Don’t Want Me Back” – Chargers, Panthers Could Capitalize on Trade Window

According to Brandon Aiyuk himself, the San Francisco 49ers do not want him and will look for a trade in the coming weeks.
Brandon Aiyuk Trade

Brandon Aiyuk spent the offseason fanning the flames of his own trade rumors, and the wide receiver is back at it again. In a recent TikTok, the former first-round pick uploaded a video of him and Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels on FaceTime. During their conversation, Aiyuk said “They don’t want me back,” referring to the ongoing contract struggles between player and team.

In a perfect world, the 49ers would love to keep Brandon Aiyuk, but they likely have no choice but to trade him or watch him walk in free agency at this point next year. The Arizona State product has established himself as one of the best in the game and will likely command over $30 million per year in the exploding wide receiver market. The 49ers still need to pay Brock Purdy and they’ll struggle to fit Aiyuk, the quarterback, and fellow receiver Deebo Samuel under the salary cap.

The 49ers selected wide receiver Ricky Pearsall in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft and Jacob Cowing shortly thereafter, implying they’re getting ready for a Brandon Aiyuk trade. While every team in the league would love to have him on the roster, the Commanders, Chargers, and Panthers are the best fits.

Brandon Aiyuk Trade Rumors Heat Up: “They Don’t Want Me”

Seeing as Brandon Aiyuk was talking to Jayden Daniels, it’s safe to assume the Commanders could pursue a trade. Terry McLaurin is a great receiver plagued with subpar quarterback play since entering the NFL. While he’s more than capable of being the top option in a passing attack, Washington could use another weapon to support the second-overall pick. The jury is still out on former first-round pick Jahan Dotson, and the rest of the depth chart is littered with unproven or underwhelming options.

History shows that the best way to help a young quarterback is to give him as many reliable weapons as possible. Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, and Josh Allen all struggled before their respective teams traded for big-name receivers, and Brandon Aiyuk could provide that same support for Daniels. Armed with over $37 million in cap space, Washington can easily afford Aiyuk’s inevitable extension.

Other Suitors

Of course, Washington won’t be the only team interested in a Brandon Aiyuk trade. The Carolina Panthers spent the 2023 season watching first-overall pick Bryce Young fail to produce in an atrocious environment. The Panthers spent the offseason adding talent on the offensive side of the ball with Diontae Johnson and first-round pick Xavier Legette, but they could still use another veteran like Aiyuk. Adding him to the mix won’t be enough to turn the Panthers into contenders, but it could help save Young’s career.

The Chargers, meanwhile, lack a proven option at wide receiver. Second-round pick Ladd McConkey is reportedly impressing in training camp, but the rookie cannot carry this entire passing attack. Jim Harbaugh wants to win with the running game, but he’ll still need an elite pass catcher if he wants this offense to keep up with the Kansas City Chiefs. Brandon Aiyuk is the perfect trade target, and pairing him with an elite quarterback in Justin Herbert could lead to explosive results.

Main Photo: Junfu Han – USA Today Sports


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