Would a Brandon Aiyuk trade actually be worth it for the Steelers?

Brandon Aiyuk would improve the Steelers roster, but at what cost?
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Aiyuk trade rumors have surfaced once again following a call with Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels. Naturally, as one of the favorite teams to land Aiyuk, the Steelers have been heavily speculated on as potential suitors. While I have been critical of the way that this team has handled the receiver position, I’m not sure trading for Aiyuk is the right move.

The Steelers' receiver room is currently made up of George Pickens and not much else, so adding a player like Aiyuk makes sense. He would give this team a dynamic pair of receivers amid their new quarterback situation. The issue comes down to a few reasons though, and unless the price is right, trading for the 49ers receiver is the wrong move.

Why the Steelers should stay clear of Brandon Aiyuk

Most people speculate that Aiyuk will require a first-round pick to acquire. While he is still a young talent, trading a top pick for a receiver seems rich right now. The league has a slew of talented receivers, and every draft seems to have at least half a dozen names that become great starters early in their career. Trading a first-round pick should be reserved for elite receivers.

While Aiyuk is really good, I don’t think he falls into that category. You also have to consider that he is in the last year of his deal and will require an extension sooner rather than later. Given the receiver market is blowing up, that deal will likely be around 30 million a season.

Aiyuk is coming off his best season as a pro, but I think a lot of that comes from the offense around him. He plays alongside a dynamic running game and has intermediate threats in Deebo Samual and George Kittle that keep defenses playing closer to the line. This allows Aiyuk to serve as a deep threat and benefit from one-on-one matchups. Case in point, he had the second-largest yards per reception last year behind Pickens.

He wouldn’t be afforded the same luxury in Pittsburgh, as defenses would be able to key in on him and play deeper. The Steelers offense also lacks the creativity and other weapons that the 49ers currently possess. You would be trading away a big resource and giving him a mega deal to boot.

If the Steelers were poised for a Super Bowl run, then sign me up. The facts are that more than likely this team will once again struggle to make the playoffs and may need to land a new quarterback next year. The team will need resources to make that happen.

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Unless the asking price is significantly less than what is being speculated on, adding Aiyuk right now could be a mistake. A first-round pick and a mega-contract is a tough pill to swallow for a team that has a lot of long-term needs. This Steelers had other opportunities to add to the receiver room, but overspending on Aiyuk now seems like a risk not worth taking.