Brandon Aiyuk on stalled negotiations with 49ers: 'They don't want me back'

As negotiations with the San Francisco 49ers extend into summer, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is taking them public.

To TikTok to be specific.

Aiyuk posted a TikTok video on Monday of a video call he had with Washington Commanders rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels. Aiyuk and Daniels were college teammates during Aiyuk's final season at Arizona State in 2019. During the call, Aiyuk made a bold claim presumably regarding his negotiations with the 49ers.

"They said they don't want me back," Aiyuk said.

That was pretty much it. The video cuts off a few seconds later.

So did the 49ers actually tell Aiyuk that they don't want him back? That seems unlikely. What's more likely is that the two sides remain far apart amid the backdrop of a lucrative wide receiver market which has produced massive contracts for some of the league's best pass catchers. Aiyuk's coming off a career season and approaching the final year of his rookie contract and would certainly like to get his piece of that market.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler recently reported an update on Aiyuk's negotiations stating plainly that the 49ers want him back.

“So Aiyuk and the 49ers have negotiated, but things have stalled a bit, which is somewhat common for this time of year," Fowler said. "They’re gonna see what happens over the next six weeks leading into training camp. The 49ers want Aiyuk long-term in the fold.

"So far they have not been willing to show that they're gonna meet the market at wide receiver, which are seeing these massive numbers."

Fowler made this report prior to Aiyuk's TikTok video.

Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings), A.J. Brown (Philadelphia Eagles) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (Detroit Lions) have each signed contracts this offseason worth $30 million-plus per season. Jefferson's four-year, $140 million deal makes him the highest-paid non-quarterback in football at $35 million per season.

(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

They're all multi-time Pro Bowlers and All-Pros. Aiyuk — who's never made a Pro Bowl — hasn't produced on that level. He is coming off a career-best Pro Bowl-type season (75 catches, 1,342 yards, 7 TDs) for a team that made the Super Bowl. He certainly has Pro Bowl upside at 26 years old. He' ready to cash in after making $12.5 million over the first four years of his rookie contract.

Aiyuk's due $14.1 million in 2024 on the fifth-year option the 49ers exercised on his rookie contract. His production commands considerably more than that annually with long-term security. He's one of a number of wide receivers including CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys) and Tee Higgins (Cincinnati Bengals) who skipped mandatory minicamp while holding out for new deals.

Fowler reports that Aiyuk "believes he's a top guy," which could be at the crux of the gulf between the two sides. Aiyuk's a breakout talent, but he's not the clear-cut No. 1 option on a 49ers roster that also features Deebo Samuel.

The Eagles and Miami Dolphins — who also boast high-end wide receiver tandems at the top of their depth charts — could set the template for Aiyuk and the 49ers. Jaylen Waddle signed a three-year, $84.75 million ($28.25 million annually) extension as the No. 2 option in Miami behind Tyreek Hill ($30 million annually). DeVonta Smith signed for three years and $75 million ($25 million) as the second option to Brown ($32 million annually) in Philadelphia.

Aiyuk's negotiations could come down to how he — and the 49ers — view him in that pecking order.