Steelers Rumors: 49ers have had 'no trade discussions' involving WR Brandon Aiyuk

Brandon Aiyuk may want out of San Francisco, but Steelers fans shouldn't hold their breath that a trade is coming.

San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers
San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Since trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been at the center of trade rumors involving star receiver, Brandon Aiyuk. The former first-round pick is coming off an outstanding 2023 season with the 49ers, but there have been rumors that San Francisco could be open to trading him this offseason.

There was enough reason to believe that this wasn't totally baseless. The Steelers continue to make 'win-now' moves in an effort to find post-season success for the first time in seven years, and it's hard to do that with only one quality receiver on the roster.

Aiyuk would be an ideal scheme fit in Arthur Smith's offense alongside George Pickens, and his ability with the ball in his hands would unquestionably give Pittsburgh a spark. However, looks like these Steelers trade rumors for Brandon Aiyuk are nothing but smoke.

ESPN reporter Nick Wagoner posted that 49ers GM John Lynch said there have been 'no trade discussions' involving Aiyuk and that the team has been in contact with the star receiver about a contract extension.

Wagoner also noted that Lynch and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin 'joked about the rumors' during Michigan's Pro Day.

Lynch seems adamant that Aiyuk isn't going anywhere, but that hasn't stopped the 49ers' electrifying weapon from voicing his opinion.

Brandon Aiyuk chimes back at John Lynch

As soon as the news of John Lynch's comments dropped, Aiyuk dropped a cryptic post on Instagram. You can probably guess its meaning.

With a sequence of emojis, Aiyuk seems to be saying that 'money talks' and he could walk if he's not getting the deal he's looking for.

49ers have no incentive to trade Aiyuk to the Steelers

There's no guarantee that Aiyuk and the 49ers can reach an agreement on a new contract extension just because they are reportedly in discussions. However, San Francisco still holds the leverage here. Aiyuk is set to play on the fifth-year option in 2024. If he's still unwilling to sign a long-term deal, the 49ers could choose to slap the franchise tag on him in 2025 (and again in 2026 at a steeper price).

Brandon Aiyuk is a top-10 receiver in the NFL, and even if he's disgruntled, it makes more sense to keep him for the next three years than trade him to the Steelers if they don't think they can get a good return on their investment.

Nobody is denying that the Pittsburgh Steelers would love to have a wide receiver like Brandon Aiyuk, but the cost of trading a high draft choice and turning around and making Aiyuk one of the highest-paid receivers in the league could be too much for Mike Tomlin and the front office.