3 Trade Scenarios for Brandon Aiyuk IF 49ers decided to part ways

Jun 24, 2024, 8:29 AM | Updated: 8:32 am

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divi...

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 20: Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs at Levi's Stadium on January 20, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Disclaimer: I don’t believe this will actually happen. If the 49ers wanted to make a Brandon Aiyuk trade, they would have done so by now.

The history of San Francisco’s operations under general manager John Lynch suggests this is just another contractual staredown between player and team about money. History adds that if a player is on the 49ers into the summer, a deal is typically struck by the fall.

But, it’s the offseason; Let’s entertain the idea that Aiyuk really is on the outs with the 49ers. That a contract is truly nowhere in sight, and the sentiment “They don’t want me back” was echoed in absolutes.

If that were the case, (for 49ers Faithful I hope it’s not) Lynch & Co. would be working the phones to find the most value for their prized wide receiver.

So, for experimentation, what would a Brandon Aiyuk trade package look like this late in the game? And who would be the suitors.

Three teams come to mind…

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Trade: PIT 2025 1st, WR Calvin Austin III for Brandon Aiyuk

The Steelers have long needed a true WR1 on their roster; since pretty much Antonio Brown historic run in the mid-2010s. But the problem was that their quarterback play has been subpar for more than half a decade.

Now with the latter in place (maybe), Mike Tomlin takes a swing at going for it all.

A combination of Aiyuk and budding star George Pickens gives The Steel City a true one-two punch at the position. And more importantly, it gives newcomer Russell Wilson (or Justin Fields) a plethora of talent around him in the passing game.

Simply put: Aiyuk is easily the best route runner the city has seen since Brown.

But it’s a big price, on top of a big, new deal, to snag him from SF.

The 49ers would want at least a Day 2 pick in next year’s draft, plus a bit of cover to make up for the loss of QB Brock Purdy’s favorite target. Since PIT doesn’t have a solid WR they can offload, higher draft compensation is required.

Austin, 25, is a gadget player that can be used in a variety of ways. Similar to Ray-Ray McCloud III, Austin can take the top of the defense, and run past them from the backfield. Plus, he’s on his rookie contract.

The perfect Kyle Shanahan piece to his offense, while also adding a vital pick for rebuilding next year.

New England Patriots

The Trade: 2025 2nd, 2026 3rd and WR Demario Douglas for Brandon Aiyuk

Very similar to the Steelers, except substitute quality receiver play and getting a first-round pick from New England.

The Patriots seemingly have their QB of the future in Drake Maye, likely to push for starting contention out of the gates. Should he beat out veteran Jacoby Brissett, first-year coach Jerrod Mayo will want to surround him with quality talent for his big arm.

That’s where Brandon Aiyuk comes in.

New England has been void of quality WRs since Tom Brady and Julian Edelman were lighting it up last decade. Since then, NE has been a disaster in the passing game (mainly because the QBs were subpar as well). BA fixes that, giving Maye a true WR1 for the foreseeable future. Couple that with former 49ers Kendrick Bourne, a solid group starts to take shape.

But like with Pittsburgh, they’ll need to entice the 49ers to trade their Pro-Bowl talent. If they don’t want to give up a first, two early pciks in the next two drafts, plus a promising WR, should be enough to get it over the line.

Demario “Pop” Douglas, 23, is very similar to Austin. Except he’s more than a gadget guy.

Douglas racked up more than 600 scrimmage yards as a rookie last season. His shorter stature (5’8″), may be a component that this SF’s offense has been missing. Plus, it takes some of the pressure off rookie WR Jacob Cowing in Year 1.

You can never have enough skill guys with uber talent, Pop Douglas would be that for Kyle Shanahan.

Washington Commanders

The Trade: 2025 2nd and OL Andrew Wylie (or WR Jahan Dotson) for Brandon Aiyuk

Very likely the best trade partner of them all, and the most familiar.

As most 49ers fans knows by now, former assistant general manager Adam Peters has departed for The Capitol, now their GM. Maybe that makes this deal more complex, or, it makes it easier considering who is on the roster now.

Brandon Aiyuk’s long-time friend Jayden Daniels is QB1 for the Commanders. And he sure would like to see his buddy in D.C., especially if you follow all the social media drama.


But again, 49ers GM John Lynch knows who he’s working with. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll do his former protege a solid by giving him BA for under market value.

So, what would the 49ers want in return? At least a Round 2 pick in 2025, and a quality veteran that could start.

Standout WR Jahan Dotson could be a target in a deal, but Peters trading him this late in the year is probably unrealistic. Maybe starting right tackle Andrew Wylie?

Wylie, 29, would immediately give Colton McKivitz a run for his money at tackle. The current Commander sported a 69.2 Pro Football Focus grade last season, playing almost 1,000 snaps. Additionally, he is entering Year 2 of a three-year, $24 million deal, which includes an out after the 2024 season.

Regardless of what run game coordinator Chris Foerster says about drafting offensive linemen, SF could use some help protecting Brock Purdy. After all, that did cost them the Super Bowl last February.

Wylie could start on both the outside, and inside, in a pinch, fortifying one of the 49ers’ weakest links.

And for the Commanders: A combination of Terry McLaurin, Brandon Aiyuk and Jahan Dotson makes them extremely potent in the passing game.

Win-win for all involved.

San Francisco 49ers 2024 Regular Season Schedule

  • Week 1 – vs. New York Jets (MNF)
  • Week 2 – @ Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 3 – @ Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 4 – vs. New England Patriots
  • Week 5 – vs. Arizona Cardinals

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3 Trade Scenarios for Brandon Aiyuk IF 49ers decided to part ways