San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch spoke to the media during the annual NFL owners meeting, saying they are contacting Brandon Aiyuk’s camp for contract extension negotiations. He added that trade talks for the All-Pro wide receiver are false.

However, the All-Pro wide receiver called out the bluff and hinted that both sides are far apart regarding their desired prices. Aiyuk will play the 2024 season under his fifth-year option worth $14.1 million, but his playing for the Niners this season isn’t a foregone conclusion.

Aiyuk’s girlfriend, Rochelle Searight, commented in a recent video after Super Bowl 58 that it could be their last time at Levi’s Stadium. This comment sparked intense trade rumors for the player who had an impressive 2023 season with 75 receptions for 1,342 yards and seven touchdowns.

However, keeping Aiyuk in a Niners uniform is still possible if the front office keeps everyone’s cap hit within limits. It could be a challenging endeavor because Brock Purdy’s contract extension is inevitable, and their free-agent pool after the 2024 season is stacked (Charvarius Ward, Dre Greenlaw, Jauan Jennings, Maliek Collins, De’Vondre Campbell, Deommodore Lenoir, Talanoa Hufanga).

Meanwhile, Aiyuk did not specify the amount he sought for his extension. However, he did share with Shannon Sharpe and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson during a recent episode of “Nightcap:”

“I’m trying to get what I deserve. I feel like this season, this season playing football, I figured out who I was as a person and a player, what I bring to the table, what I bring to the locker room, what I bring to the organization. And just the value I hold when I walk in that building.”

Even the amount he deserves can reset the market because Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase are negotiating for their extensions. Both players can rightfully demand an annual average value higher than Tyreek Hill’s $30 million.

If the 49ers wait to finalize the extension after Jefferson or Chase sign their deal, Aiyuk might have the leverage to command a higher price tag. Therefore, they are better off doing the extension earlier, hoping to get a discount.

-Lance Fernandez