John Lynch: 49ers not having trade talks about Brandon Aiyuk

The Brandon Aiyuk trade rumors have started flying with the first waves of free agency starting to slow down. Reports have surfaced about the Jaguars and Steelers both being interested in Aiyuk, but 49ers general manager John Lynch on Monday at the NFL owners meetings denied any report that San Francisco has had talks about trading the 26-year-old All-Pro.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, Lynch said the 49ers are in talks with Aiyuk about an extension and that any reports of trade discussions are false. Lynch also noted the 49ers would be fine letting Aiyuk play out the fifth year of his rookie contract with no long-term extension.

The problem isn’t whether the 49ers would let Aiyuk play out the deal. It’s whether Aiyuk would be willing to take the field without an extension. San Francisco holds most of the power here since skipping a year would also lose a year of service for Aiyuk, putting him right back in the same spot next season.

However, the 49ers aren’t likely to want Aiyuk playing on that fifth-year option for a couple reasons. First, that may sever the long-term relationship entirely if they make him play without any kind of long-term security. Second, his $14.2 million cap hit this year could actually be reduced via a longer-term deal.

This is where the contract negotiation part of this comes in and it’s why the 49ers should have some optimism about getting a deal done. It’s in their best interest to give Aiyuk what he deserves, and it’s in Aiyuk’s best interest to get that deal signed so he can go into 2024 with the proverbial bag in hand.

Alas, those negotiations will happen as much in public as they do in private. Lynch could very easily be lying about the trade talks and the willingness to let Aiyuk play on the fifth-year option. If Aiyuk’s camp is looking for a deal north of what the 49ers are willing to pay, then a trade will have to be on the table if they want to recoup anything for the WR.

All of this should happen relatively quickly though. If San Francisco’s brass believes they’ll have to trade the receiver, they’ll want to do so before this year’s draft to ensure they’re going to get quality draft capital that can help this year.

If a trade doesn’t materialize, then we can expect this to go well into the offseason and even into training camp. That’s how the 49ers have typically done business, and it appears they’re on track to follow the same path they’ve followed with Fred Warner, George Kittle, Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel in recent seasons.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire