George Kittle Expects Brandon Aiyuk with 49ers to Start 2024 Season amid Trade Rumors

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle believes that wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk will remain with the team this season despite his current contract dispute and trade rumors.

“I’m not concerned about it,” Kittle told the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen on his show (25-minute mark). “Aiyuk’s a phenomenal football player who’s a big part of our offense, and he’s one of the most complete receivers I’ve ever played with, so I’m going to assume that he’s going to be on our team by the time the season starts.”

Eisen first asked Kittle what he would tell fans who ask whether Aiyuk is going to be in San Francisco this year, leading to the answer.

For further context, Kittle noted that other 49ers stars have gotten their big deals done later in the offseason. Kittle’s $75 million deal was reported on Aug. 13, 2020. Deebo Samuel’s three-year deal worth up to $73.5 million was reported on July 31, 2022. And Nick Bosa and the 49ers agreed to a five-year, $170 million extension on Sept. 6, 2023.

The 49ers are still two weeks out from even starting training camp on July 23, so there’s still a lot time to get something done relative even to those deals.

Kittle also made a point to note that he doesn’t have any particular insight on the Aiyuk matter, even saying that he goes out of his way to avoids conversations with players amid contract negotiations so he can avoid giving any answers about those situations to others.

Aiyuk had 75 catches for 1,342 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last year en route to second team All-Pro honors. Thanks much to his efforts, the 49ers won the NFC title. He’s entering the final season of a rookie contract paying him $14.1 million in 2024, and he’s frankly deserving of a lucrative, long-term deal.

That hasn’t happened yet for the 26-year-old, and it doesn’t look like the two sides are making much progress.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that recent conversations have not led to them being closer to a contract. However, a trade request isn’t on the table either.

“For Aiyuk and the 49ers, they had conversations recently,” Garafolo said on July 2. “They are no closer to a deal, from my understanding, but they are also no closer to a trade request. That’s never been something that he has explored in this case.”

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated also spoke with Eisen on the matter (21-minute mark) and said that he believes the 49ers not only see Aiyuk as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver but that something will get done.

On the flip side, Aiyuk seems enamored with the Commanders, a team led by rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels, a close friend of his and an ex-Arizona State teammate. This image notably raised eyebrows.

Aiyuk also showed up to an appearance on The Pivot Podcast with Daniels. And during that podcast, Aiyuk listed the Commanders as a team he could envision himself playing with in 2024 alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“If I were to take a guess, probably a Niner uniform,” Aiyuk said in an appearance on The Pivot Podcast (45:45 mark) regarding where he saw himself in 2024. “Probably a Niner uniform. I mean, if not a Niner uniform, probably a Washington Commander uniform. If not a Washington Commander uniform, probably a Steelers uniform.”

Right now, Aiyuk remains in San Francisco, but his status is certainly one to watch throughout this offseason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *