Aiyuk's personal coach states receiver doesn't want to leave 49ers

Aiyuk’s personal coach states receiver doesn’t want to leave 49ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

There isn’t much being said from either side as the 49ers and Brandon Aiyuk continue negotiations on a contract extension, but Aiyuk’s personal wide receiver coach T.J. Houshmandzadeh provided some insight on the ongoing situation.

Houshmandzadeh joined 95.7 The Game’s “Willard and Dibs” on Monday morning to discuss Aiyuk’s future in the Bay, and from his viewpoint, how things might play out.

“I talked to BA. He don’t want to leave San Francisco,” Houshmandzadeh said. “He just wants to get paid. Just very simple. He wants to be rewarded for the work that he has put in. And the casual fan, I don’t think they understand, to be a professional athlete, you get paid very well, and I’d be crazy not to say that, but man, the type of work you have to put in, day in, day out, ‘Oh, I would do it if I was making that type of money.’ Just go work out with a professional athlete for one week. Just go do it for one week and tell me would you feel the same way. It’s not easy.

“It’s a lot of hard work physically, and it’s tougher mentally, because those days you don’t want to do anything, you still have to go do it and you’re going to push yourself every single day. ‘I’m tired. I can’t go anymore.’ Uh, yeah, you’re going to keep going. And that’s just what you do.”

After sixth-year pro Calvin Ridley signed a four-year, $92 million contract with the Tennessee Titans last month, Houshmandzadeh was asked how much Aiyuk is worth if Ridley got $23 million.

Ridley’s response? Twenty-seven million.

It’s the cost of doing business in the National Football League now. This is what it is,” Houshmandzadeh said. “The salary cap increases, the players’ salaries increase. That’s just what it is. So when you have good players, and John Lynch, pat yourself on the back, Kyle Shanahan, pat yourself on the back. You guys have done a really good job drafting, for the most part, you draft good players. You pay them.

“That’s just how it works. You’d rather draft good players and have to pay them than draft guys and have to cut them.”

Houshmandzadeh also defended the fact that Aiyuk is 31st in the NFL in catches because “he doesn’t get as many targets as other guys,” such as Justin Jefferson or Tyreek Hill.

He even presented a counterargument, suggesting that Aiyuk might be 31st in catches but he’s not 31st in yards.

While Houshmandzadeh believes $27 million seems fair for Aiyuk, he clarified that he didn’t discuss specific numbers with Aiyuk, but added that he doesn’t think Aiyuk would turn that price tag down.

The 25-year-old is scheduled to make $14.1 million during the 2024 NFL season on the fifth-year option. He is eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the season.

With the NFL draft set to kick off Thursday, any potential moves likely would occur after the first round. If no move is made by then, it likely would signal that Aiyuk would stay with San Francisco until at least next season.

That outcome appears most likely to Houshmandzadeh, who is confident both sides will work it out.

“Man, winners win. And the 49ers have shown, with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, that that’s what they do,” Houshmandzadeh said. “They’re going to figure out a way to make it work. Rarely do you see teams trade young players before their second contract. Normally, the front office, they look forward to signing young players to a second contract. Why? Because it shows that they’re doing a hell of a job acquiring guys through the draft. They’re not built through free agency, they’re building it through the draft.

” … They look forward to rewarding guys that they’ve evaluated the right way and now they’re up for second deals. So they’ll figure out a way to make it work. At least I believe they will. But the more you wait, the more animosity may start to sit in with the player because you feel like, ‘Damn, y’all really don’t value me like I thought you did.’ “

If the 49ers do get past the draft without trading Aiyuk, would he be open to playing on his fifth option in San Francisco?

“Nah,” Houshmandzadeh said and repeated five times.

If they somehow do trade Aiyuk and acquire a potential replacement through the draft, Houshmandzadeh would wish San Francisco good luck.

“It’s a good receiver draft, for sure. I’ll say that,” he said. “But are you willing to roll the dice and hope the player you draft can be what BA is? You’re hoping. You don’t know.”

There isn’t much time to figure out a solution that will make all sides happy, but at the end of the day, a decision must be made, and Houshmandzadeh doesn’t doubt Aiyuk will continue playing for the team who saw his potential four years ago.

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