Aiyuk's WR coach states 49ers star is ‘pessimistic' about extension


Aiyuk’s WR coach states 49ers star is ‘pessimistic’ about extension originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

It appears things between Brandon Aiyuk and the 49ers have taken a downward spiral as contract talks continue.

Aiyuk’s wide receiver coach and former NFL receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh joined 95.7 The Game’s “Willard and Dibs” on Thursday and shared the latest from the ongoing negotiations, revealing things have made an ugly turn.

“At one point, [Aiyuk] thought he was going to sign, so he was like, ‘I’m not going to come out [to work out] because I might have to go when I sign,” Houshmandzadeh said. “That optimistic outlook has turned into a pessimistic outlook.

“At one point he thought, ‘Damn, I might be leaving soon,’ and now it’s, ‘I have no idea.’ “

Houshmandzadeh said there was “optimism in the air” and Aiyuk was feeling good about a deal getting done about a month and a half ago.

But as 49ers OTAs and mandatory minicamp have come and gone, and Aiyuk still nowhere in sight in Santa Clara, Houshmandzadeh believes now it is a different story.

While things have taken longer than either side might have anticipated, Houshmandzadeh provided a simple solution: Give Aiyuk the same deal as Amon-Ra St. Brown’s Detroit Lions contract.

“If the 49ers want to get B.A. signed, give him the Amon-Ra deal,” Houshmandzadeh said. “I guarantee he’d be in there tomorrow. They don’t want to do that. … If they’d offered him Amon-Ra’s deal, he would be in camp.”

St. Brown signed a four-year, $120 million contract with Detroit on April 24, coming off a breakout 2023 season where the Lions star earned a First-Team All-Pro selection after recording 111 receptions for 1,515 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Aiyuk recorded fewer receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns than St. Brown last season, but he also had way less targets given the amount of star power among San Francisco’s offense.

Although Aiyuk had 59 fewer targets and 44 fewer receptions than St. Brown in 2023, he had only 173 fewer receiving yards. The 26-year-old’s 17.9 yards per reception ranked second in the NFL last season, while Aiyuk earned a spot on the Second-Team All-Pro squad.

“It’s disheartening because as a player, you just want to get what you feel like you’ve earned,” Houshmandzadeh said. “It’s disheartening — and then it starts to make you angry. … If I mean so much to this team, what’s the holdup? Yeah, I don’t get a lot of targets, yeah we have a lot of mouths to feed. But I’m an important part of this offense.

“You just don’t want your best players unhappy when you have a history of taking care of your best players.”

For Houshmandzadeh and Aiyuk, they certainly hope history is on their side as both sides continue to make the right decision for all parties.

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