Brandon Aiyuk's Reaction To 49ers Draft Pick Revealed Amid Speculation

By Jason Hall

April 26, 2024

NFL: SEP 17 49ers at Rams
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San Francisco 49ers All-Pro wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk reportedly gave his approval of the team's decision to use its first-round 2024 NFL Draft pick on a player at his position Thursday (April 25) night amid speculation on his future with the franchise.

Aiyuk reportedly texted both general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, "Fire pick, can't lie," after the Niners selected former Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, who was teammates with Aiyuk at Arizona State before transferring, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk texted GM John Lynch and HC Kyle Shanahan moments after they selected his former Arizona State teammate Ricky Pearsall with their first-round pick Thursday night. The message, per Shanahan: 'Fire Pick, can’t lie,'" Schefter wrote on his X account.

Schefter's report comes hours after the Athletic's Dianna Russini reported that the Niners "had conversations with teams, including with one picking in the top 10, about trading either" Aiyuk or fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel "in an effort to move up in the first-round" prior to the draft.

Schefter noted that the selection of Pearsall comes with Aiyuk and fellow wide receiver Jauan Jennings set to hit free agency next offseason, as well as Samuel only having two years left on his contract.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Mike Silver reported that "the 49ers are now more likely to deal" Samuel than Aiyuk "based on my conversations with other teams" late Thursday night.

Earlier this week, Lynch, said the team was having "good talks" with Aiyuk and the two sides were "working through" a plan to keep him "for the rest of his career" amid trade speculation.

“With B.A., I’ve communicated on many occasions: Our wish is that he’s here as part of the Niners for the rest of his career,” Lynch said via the Mercury News.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame safety then said he preferred to keep negotiations private out of respect to the players involved.

“We’re having good talks, and I’m just going to leave it at that,” Lynch said via the Mercury News. “We’ll focus on the draft here today.”

Last week, Aiyuk's agent, Ryan Williams, denied that his client requested a trade in a post shared on his X account.

"You need better sources," Williams wrote in response to blogger John Fracella's report that Aiyuk "requested a trade from the 49ers," citing "confirmation from my San Francisco source."

Last month, 49ers general manager Lynch, 52, said Ayiuk, 26, would not be available for a trade as the team was discussing a new contract with him during the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The general manager broke his silence after Aiyuk acknowledged his frustration about entering the final year of his rookie deal during the Niners' exit interviews in February, noting that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin asked him "what's going on" in relation to the apparent disgruntled receiver.

"[Tomlin] is like, 'Bro, what's going on,'" Lynch said, laughing. "I promise you nothing's going on there. We're actively talking with Brandon trying to figure something out. We have a good history of working with the guys we want to get done to get something done and it takes two sides. So, can we do that? We'll see. There's a number of different directions that it could go but we appreciate the heck out of Brandon and who he is as a player, and we want him to be a part of the Niners. We're going to work towards making that a reality."

Aiyuk spoke to reporters on February 13, two days after San Francisco's Super Bowl LVIII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and addressed his future with the team after his girlfriend, Rochelle Searight, and a former teammate both appeared to hint at a possible departure.

Aiyuk responded, "if that's the right move, yeah," when asked if he hoped to remain with the 49ers moving forward during the team's exit interviews on February 13. The second-team All-Pro then said "being a champion" when asked what would make staying in the Bay Area the right move.

On February 12, Searight shared a since-deleted TikTok detailing her "travel day of shame" following the Niners' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.

“This might have been the last day we touched foot on Levi’s Stadium … because we might not be out here next season,” Searight said.

Aiyuk's longtime friend and former Sierra College teammate, Draysean Hudson, also appeared to hint at a potential departure from the Niners after the All-Pro receiver was limited to just three receptions in Super Bowl LVIII.

"This is the exact reason why we leaving San Francisco," Hudson wrote. "Thank you 49ers for drafting my brother we are forever grateful.

"BA to Vegas," Hudson added with a pirate emoji, teasing interest in joining the Las Vegas Raiders. "Why does your All-Pro 1,300 yard receiver have three catches in the Super Bowl??"

Aiyuk recorded a career-best 1,342 yards, as well as seven touchdowns and 75 receptions, during the 2023 regular season, but was limited to just nine receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown in three playoff appearances, including three receptions for 49 yards on six targets in Super Bowl LVIII. San Francisco has invoked the fifth-year option on Aiyuk's contract, so he will be signed until the 2025 offseason unless he's traded sooner.

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