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Niners WR Brandon Aiyuk unfollows team on social media amid contract stand-off

In Sports
April 13, 2024
LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 11: Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during Super Bowl LVIII against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images)
Brandon Aiyuk wants his money. (Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

Brandon Aiyuk is taking a road well-traveled as he negotiates a new contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

The All-Pro wide receiver unfollowed his team of four years on Instagram, as NFL Network’s Clayton Holloway noticed Friday:

Unfollowing a team while looking for a new deal is practically a cliché in the NFL at this point. It’s meant to send a message that the player is ready to move on from the team if it isn’t willing to pay him and ultimately doesn’t mean much. The move can honestly be more reflective of the player than the state of the negotiations.

That said, this isn’t the first time Aiyuk has been open about his desire for a significant payday. He was cryptic about his future after the Niners’ loss in Super Bowl LVIII and spoke about how he felt the Niners weren’t properly reflecting his value in negotiations last month:

“I’m trying to get what I deserve,” Aiyuk said. “I feel like this season, this season playing football, I figured out who I was as a person and a player, what I bring to the table, what I bring to the locker room, what I bring to the organization. And just the value I hold when I walk in that building.”

Aiyuk is entering the fifth-year option of his rookie contract as a first-rounder in the 2020 NFL Draft. He is due a fully guaranteed salary of $14.1 million, with the same figure as his salary cap number. He will be able to hit unrestricted free agency next offseason, with the Niners able to franchise tag him if he doesn’t sign a deal.

Aiyuk is coming off a season in which he ranked seventh in the NFL with a career-high 1,342 receiving yards for the Niners, which rode a high octane offense that leaned on arguably the best collection of skill players in the NFL between Aiyuk, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, running back Christian McCaffrey and tight end George Kittle.

Those other three players are all under contract through at least the 2025 season, with a combined $55 million salary cap figure for 2024 and $60.6 million for 2025.

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