What would the Steelers have to give up in trade for 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk?

Following last week’s trade of Diontae Johnson, the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in the market for a top-tier receiver.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac claims the Steelers are working on it, and a name that’s surfaced is San Fransisco 49ers Brandon Aiyuk. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports that he’ll have trade potential if his team can’t work out a long-term deal.

As acrobatic and productive as George Pickens is, it’s hard to label him a WR1 right now. He still needs to develop, including as a route runner. He needs a weapon in front of him to take some pressure off, as well as an attitude adjustment.

Aiyuk, 26, represents everything the Steelers want in a receiver: He’s a vertical and goal line-to-goal line threat, one of the game’s best route-runners and a willing blocker.

As a top receiver in 2023, Aiyuk logged a career-high 1,342 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 16 regular-season games and only had two drops on 86 catchable targets.

Aiyuk could be that guy the Steelers are targeting, but at what cost?

A report surfaced on Monday that the Jacksonville Jaguars were interested in Aiyuk but turned down a potential trade after the 49ers sought their first-round pick (No. 17) and receiver Zay Jones in return. Jones is approaching 29 and only put up 321 yards and two scores in 2023. I would’ve done that in a heartbeat if I were Jacksonville, a team looking for a top guy after losing Calvin Ridley in free agency.

From the sound of it, Pittsburgh would have to surrender multiple picks, including their first-rounder for Aiyuk. The Steelers would take on his $14 million salary (fifth-year option) this season but would also be expected to sign him to a long-term deal. According to Spotrac, his projected market value is $24 million annually.

As a run-heavy team with glaring needs along the offensive line, the cost is more than the Steelers should be willing to give up.

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire