Aiyuk likes 49ers' Pearsall draft pick despite uncertain future

Aiyuk likes 49ers' Pearsall draft pick despite uncertain future originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers’ selection in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday received Brandon Aiyuk’s stamp of approval.

“Brandon just texted,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said just minutes after the team chose Florida receiver Ricky Pearsall at No. 31 overall.

Aiyuk’s group message to Lynch and Kyle Shanahan was simple: “Fire pick. Can’t lie.”

It seems as if Aiyuk does not believe he is going anywhere -- even as reports continue to swirl around the NFL of the 49ers’ willingness to part ways with their top pass-catcher.

And now that the first round is over, it seems the odds of the 49ers trading Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel have decreased even more.

“I thought it was unlikely going into it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan and Lynch stated they would not close the door on any trade possibilities.

For now, Pearsall joins a receiver group that is led by Aiyuk, Samuel and Jauan Jennings. Pearsall fits into the group due to his versatility to play any of the receiver positions, as well as return punts.

“We feel great about that group,” Lynch said, “and we feel like we just made it better with another really good addition to it who complements the group really well.

“We like our group as it stands.”

Aiyuk and Pearsall know each other well from their time together at Arizona State during the 2019 season.

Aiyuk was a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2020. Pearsall played three seasons at Arizona State before transferring to Florida, where he caught 98 passes for 1,626 yards and nine touchdowns over the past two seasons.

After Aiyuk texted Lynch and Shanahan, he placed a call to Pearsall.

“We had a really good relationship,” Pearsall told reporters on Thursday. “Actually, I just got off the phone with him before I got over here on this Zoom call (with reporters).

"He was just congratulating me and telling me over and over again, ‘You’re a first-rounder, man; soak it up, you deserve it.’ ”

Pearsall clearly has come a long way since his freshman season when he caught seven passes for 128 yards at Arizona State.

“I feel like I’m a totally different player since the last time we've seen each other,” Pearsall said. “He’s seen it from afar when he was watching me at Florida, and I’ve been watching him at the Niners.  It will be really good to team back up with him and get active.”

Aiyuk’s future with the 49ers has been a major topic this offseason. He is under contract for the upcoming season on a deal scheduled to pay him $14.1 million.

Both sides are seeking a contract extension this offseason. The 49ers want to keep Aiyuk around for a while, while he is seeking a deal that compensates him at a level consistent with some of the top receivers in the NFL.

Aiyuk does not figure to take part in any voluntary offseason team activities until a new deal is agreed upon.

“We’re continuing to have positive talks with B.A.,” Lynch said. “We’re really efforting to get something done. We’re excited about continuing down that path and Brandon being a part of this team.”

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