Brandon Aiyuk WR coach says he is now ‘pessimistic’ about 49ers contract talks

Jun 7, 2024, 8:30 AM | Updated: 8:46 am

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers participates during San Francisco 49ers practice ahead...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 08: Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers participates during San Francisco 49ers practice ahead of Super Bowl LVIII at Fertitta Football Complex on February 08, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers and Brandon Aiyuk have been in contract talks the entire offseason. But with time running out, those close to him share more pessimism a deal will get done with each passing day.

That was the sentiment shared by the player’s wide receiver coach, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, during an interview on 95.7 The Game Thursday. Coming on for a segment of Willard & Dibs, the former wideout was asked how the vibes feel around Aiyuk’s camp at the moment. His answer was a bit disheartening, sharing that the 49ers’ star player was seemingly close to a deal in the spring. 

Since then, that optimism has dwindled, now in a status of limbo entering the summer after missing mandatory minicamp.

“At one point [Brandon] thought he may sign,” Houshmandzadeh said Thursday. “That optimistic outlook has turned into a pessimistic outlook.”

Several factors may have played a role, both internally and externally in the NFL. 

The last few weeks have seen contracts being giving to his counterparts. On the 49ers, both WR Jauan Jennings and running back Christian McCaffrey have received extensions in the last week. Meanwhile, similar players of Brandon Aiyuk’s status (Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith) have received mega-deals with a plethora of long-term security.

But there’s only so much money to go around, with Aiyuk feeling in a state of limbo at the moment. That is unless the 49ers are willing to give the WR a bag in the range of $28 million annually.

“If the 49ers want to get BA signed, give him the Amon-Ra deal. I guarantee he’d be in there tomorrow. They don’t want to do that,” Houshmandzadeh shared. “If they’d offered him Amon-Ra’s deal, he would be in camp.”

While official contract negotiations will not be disclosed, one would assume Brandon Aiyuk and his agents are asking for the most money possible. Will they get that? Probably not. But paying market value for your reliable top option at the position isn’t unreasonable by any means.

But can the 49ers afford it is the other kicker. Already shelling out massive contracts to Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, etc., the money well could be drying up, especially with Brock Purdy’s new deal one the way. 

“To me it don’t change at all,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan stated about Aiyuk missing minicamp. “Some guys come because they want to avoid the fine, and some don’t. But regardless, doesn’t change anything. We know what the process is, we know what the business part is, that’s just how they decide how they want to handle this.”

Brandon Aiyuk is the first 49ers player to hold out off mandatory minicamp in lieu of a contract dispute. Both Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa attended in previous years to avoid the fines. Since BA was not present, he will be fined in the excess of $104k.

But with millions of dollars likely on the way (from the 49ers or another team), Aiyuk seems determined to hold his ground and get what’s earned.

“I mean, I’ve talked to B.A…He don’t want to leave San Francisco. He just wants to get paid. Just very simple. He just wants to be rewarded for the work that he’s put in,” Houshmandzadeh said in April.

Click here to watch the full interview with T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

San Francisco 49ers Upcoming 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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