How Amon-Ra St. Brown contract might facilitate Brandon Aiyuk trade

There’s a new contract on the wide receiver market, and it’s resetting how WRs will get paid moving forward. It’s also resetting what standard 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk may be looking for in a deal.

The Lions and WR Amon-Ra St. Brown agreed to a four-year deal worth more than $120 million with $77 million guaranteed according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

While the 49ers will surely want to give Aiyuk something in the range of what Eagles WR DeVonta Smith received – three years, $75 million – Aiyuk’s camp is going to circle the St. Brown deal that put the Lions WR’s average annual value north of $30 million.

St. Brown over his three NFL seasons has posted similar numbers to Aiyuk with 3,588 yards and 21 touchdowns. In that same stretch Aiyuk has 3,183 yards and 20 touchdowns. The key difference is Aiyuk has done it on 209 catches where St. Brown has hauled in 315.

A report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mike Silver on Tuesday indicated the 49ers weren’t willing to go way up north of $25 million annually. It’s hard to believe given that information that something beyond $30 million will be on the table for them.

If the team can’t get Aiyuk to come down from that number, they may be incentivized to move him during this year’s draft where teams like the Jaguars, Steelers and Colts could all be suitors. In the event they don’t deal him and they can’t come to an agreement on an extension, they risk losing him for nothing more than a future compensatory pick in the offseason.

On the other hand, the St. Brown deal could be structured in a way that puts the number below an actual $30 million AAV and into something more palatable that the 49ers could conceivably replicate with their star receiver.

While general manager John Lynch expressed a desire to keep Aiyuk and said he wouldn’t anticipate the WR not being on the 49ers’ roster by Friday – the second day of the draft – there are financial factors at play that may force San Francisco’s hand. And in that case we may not see Aiyuk in a 49ers uniform again.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire