49ers’ Kyle Shanahan shares his genuine thoughts on Brandon Aiyuk missing minicamp.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is absent from the team’s mandatory minicamp due to a contract dispute, but this does not affect head coach Kyle Shanahan’s opinion of Aiyuk as they approach the 2024 season.

Aiyuk is preparing to enter the final year of his deal, but the 49ers’ financial constraints are making it difficult for them to reach a long-term agreement with him.

The 26-year-old has also made it pretty clear that he isn’t open to taking any hometown discounts, so if San Francisco wants to retain Aiyuk, it is going to have to pay him what he desires.

Trade rumors have surrounded Aiyuk this offseason due to his contract situation with the 49ers. Some speculated that the team might trade him before the NFL Draft in late April, but they decided to keep him instead.

There has even been speculation that San Francisco could trade fellow wide out Deebo Samuel in order to clear room for Aiyuk moving forward, but nothing has come to fruition on that end, either.

How much is Brandon Aiyuk worth to the 49ers?

It has had to be frustrating for Aiyuk to watch countless wide receivers land massive contract extensions this offseason while he remains left out in the cold, but his individual situation is also a bit different from most of these other wide outs.

Again, the Niners don’t exactly have a lot of financial resources available. Samuel is already under contract through 2025. The 49ers made defensive end Nick Bosa the highest-paid defensive player in football. They just handed running back Christian McCaffrey a new deal, and Brock Purdy becomes eligible for a contract extension next offseason.

So, as you can see, money is tight for San Francisco.

Plus, Aiyuk is not exactly on the same level as other receivers who have inked new contracts.

He isn’t Justin Jefferson. He isn’t A.J. Brown. He isn’t Amon-Ra St. Brown, either.

That’s not to take anything away from Aiyuk: he is a very good receiver and has proven that he is a No. 1 guy. He has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns, including registering 1,342 yards this past season in helping lead the Niners to a Super Bowl appearance.

However, he will not be getting $35 million per year like Jefferson. He probably shouldn’t get $32 million annually like Brown, either. Heck, even St. Brown’s $30 million per year deal may be too rich for a player of Aiyuk’s caliber.

Obviously, we don’t know how much money Aiyuk is asking for, but he definitely needs to be reasonable if he genuinely wants to remain with the 49ers long term. San Francisco clearly wants to keep him, but if he insists on being paid like some of these other wide outs, it may become impossible.

Aiyuk has yet to make a Pro Bowl, but he was named a Second-Team All-Pro this past season.

We’ll see if the Niners are able to come to terms on a new deal with Aiyuk in the coming weeks. If not, he may be holding out for quite some time.

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