Brandon Aiyuk hasn't "officially requested a trade" (and he doesn't need to)

A strange but increasingly common kerfuffle erupted on X over the weekend, when a report emerged that 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk "has officially requested a trade from the 49ers, per confirmation from my San Francisco source."

Aiyuk's agent, Ryan Williams, responded to the claim with this: "You need better sources."

Williams is right. Aiyuk has not "officially requested a trade." He doesn't need to.

With Aiyuk unfollowing the 49ers on social media, any team that has any interest in Aiyuk has reason to call the 49ers.

Several weeks ago, such calls were met (we're told) with a response that Aiyuk isn't available. At this point, with the draft 10 days ago and the situation still unresolved, why not make the call again?

There's also reason to believe that, even though Aiyuk hasn't requested a trade, conversations might be happening to determine whether other team(s) are interested in making a deal — with the knowledge and approval of the 49ers.

That could be useful to the 49ers. It could give both sides useful information as to what his market might be.

The biggest challenge for the 49ers and Aiyuk will be setting his number. He presumably (and justifiably) will want the same deal the 49ers gave to receiver Deebo Samuel, at a minimum.

It makes sense for the 49ers to figure this out now. Pay Aiyuk or trade him to someone who will, and get 2024 draft-pick compensation for him.

Trading him would fly in the face of the entire purpose of the draft/development model. Teams select players with the hope that they'll become key members of the team. Aiyuk has; he was a second-team All-Pro in 2023. Why trade him?

The best-case scenario is that they'd flip Aiyuk for a rookie who ends up being pretty good, too. And then they'll have to pay him, or trade him and do it all over again.

If the draft is a lottery and each player is a lottery ticket, Aiyuk was a winner. The difference for the NFL is that the jackpot then gets paid by the holder of the ticket. It's time for the 49ers, or someone else, to give Aiyuk his jackpot.