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Brandon Aiyuk

49ers receiver looking to land contract extension

I see Brandon Aiyuk was posting on social media, encouraging the Steelers to make a trade offer for him. And there have been suggestions the 49ers might be willing to listen.

Having completed three seasons, Aiyuk is eligible for an extension, and he’s ready to get paid. He won’t get Jefferson-Chase money, but he can argue that he should be in the next tier of receivers.

You can’t pay everyone, and San Francisco might not want to allocate that much money to the receiver position. They’ve already got Deebo Samuel signed to a big deal. And they may believe that a big part of Aiyuk’s success can be attributed to him playing in their system. What would anybody think of Aiyuk today, for example, had he been selected by the other franchise that’s selected an Arizona State wide receiver in the first round in recent years (the Patriots, with N’Keal Harry).

Aiyuk’s numbers last year, however, were pretty special. He went for 1,342 yards, and he did it at 17.9 yards per catch – lots of big plays downfield field.

Yards per target is one measure of a receiver. You look not only catches but also incompletions, calculating the average gain when a team tries to get the ball to a player. By that measure, Aiyuk’s numbers last season were the best of any wide receiver in the last 10 years. He averaged 12.8 yards per pass play, almost a yard more than anybody else. Among receivers with at least 100 targets, only 33 others have averaged at least 10 yards per target.

(Other players from the 2023 season tagged with black dots.)

2023Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.105751,34217.9712.8
2023• Nico Collins, Hou.109801,29716.2811.9
2021Deebo Samuel, S.F.121771,40518.3611.6
2022Jaylen Waddle, Mia.117751,35618.1811.6
2021JaMarr Chase, Cin.128811,45518.01311.4
2017Tyreek Hill, K.C.105751,18315.8711.3
2020Justin Jefferson, Min.125881,40015.9711.2
2018Mike Evans, T.B.138861,52417.7811.0
2019Chris Godwin, T.B.121861,33315.5911.0
2021Tyler Lockett, Sea.107731,17516.1811.0
2016Julio Jones, Atl.129831,40917.0610.9
2018Tyreek Hill, K.C.137871,47917.01210.8
2023• George Pickens, Pitt.106631,14018.1510.8
2023• Justin Jefferson, Min.100681,07415.8510.7
2018T.Y. Hilton, Ind.120761,27016.7610.6
2023• Tyreek Hill, Mia.1711191,79915.11310.5
2015Doug Baldwin, Sea.103781,06913.71410.4
2014T.Y. Hilton, Ind.130821,34516.4710.3
2022A.J. Brown, Phil.145881,49617.01110.3
2018Brandin Cooks, LAR117801,20415.1510.3
2017Marvin Jones, Det.107611,10118.0910.3
2019Kenny Golladay, Det.116651,19018.31110.3
2014Randall Cobb, G.B.126911,28714.11210.2
2021Cooper Kupp, LAR1911451,94713.41610.2
2020A.J. Brown, Ten.106701,07515.41110.1
2020DJ Moore, Car.118661,19318.1410.1
2020DK Metcalf, Sea.129831,30315.71010.1
2014Jordy Nelson, G.B.151981,51915.51310.1
2022Tyreek Hill, Mia.1701191,71014.4710.1
2016DeSean Jackson, Was.100561,00517.9410.1
2023• DJ Moore, Chi.136961,36414.2810.0
2016Brandin Cooks, N.O.117781,17315.0810.0
2019Amari Cooper, Dall.119791,18915.1810.0
2014Emmanuel Sanders, Den.1411011,40413.9910.0

—Ian Allan

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