Outside of following along with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason happenings, no team has captivated the attention of Pittsburgh fans and media like the San Francisco 49ers. They have a surplus of impact wide receivers, and the Steelers appear to have a need at WR2 opposite George Pickens for the 2024 season.

The 49ers paid Jauan Jennings, which leaves Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel as the two most likely candidates to be moved if they receive the right trade offer. Samuel is under contract for the next two seasons, but the 49ers will be looking to move on from him sooner rather than later if they end up extending Aiyuk. So, how close are the 49ers on an Aiyuk deal? Not very, it would seem.

“I’m hearing their offer’s in the $26 million range,” said NFL insider Mike Silver via the Papa & Lund podcast on 104.5 KNBR in San Francisco. “It’s certainly not Justin Jefferson money, nor should it be, but it’s closer to that DeVonta Smith, Amon-Ra St. Brown—that next tier down.”

Previous reports have indicated that Aiyuk is looking for $30 million in average annual value to put him in line with St. Brown’s recent deal. St. Brown outproduced Aiyuk last season, but there is also a large difference in leverage between the two situations. St. Brown is an irreplaceable player on the Detroit Lions’ roster at the moment as the best receiver on their roster by a healthy margin. The 49ers, on the other hand, have Jennings, Samuel, first-round rookie Ricky Pearsall Jr. and fourth-round rookie Jacob Cowing.

So the 49ers are potentially coming in $4 million below his reported asking price while Brandon Aiyuk continues to hold out, now into the mandatory portion of the offseason schedule and incurring fines.

The 49ers lost the Super Bowl in overtime and are likely trying to do anything possible to keep the roster intact to get over the hump and win a Super Bowl. Trading away one of their players would hurt that cause. Even if they receive a first-round pick for one of the players, that wouldn’t help them for the 2024 season. There have been reports that teams have reached out about a trade, but still a deal has not happened.

Whichever teams are trying to acquire Samuel or Aiyuk know that they will have to turn around and dedicate a good chunk of their salary cap to the player right away. The cost of a first-round pick plus a $30 million contract could be too much to justify and certainly would be a big shock for the Steelers. If the situation gets uglier and Aiyuk ends up officially requesting a trade, then maybe he could be had for a second-round pick or some other package not involving a first. Then and only then could I see the Steelers making something happen.


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