A Steelers trade to land Brandon Aiyuk before the draft after rumored request

This trade could get Brandon Aiyuk on thePittsburgh Steelers in time for the 2024 NFL Draft.
San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers
San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

A Brandon Aiyuk trade has been a possibility all offseason. Though the San Francisco 49ers have remained adamant that they want to sign the wide receiver and former first-round pick to an extension as he enters the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, the reality has seemed detached from that. That, of course, has led to receiver-needy teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs being mentioned as landing spots.

That's only going to get even more hectic with the latest rumors swirling around Aiyuk.

On Sunday morning, buzz that had been on social media for some time appeared to come to a head as John Frascella, who refers to himself as an NFL insider, substantiated other buzz on Twitter/X from the weekend that Brandon Aiyuk has officially requested a trade.

But wait, there's more. Not only did Frascella list the Steelers and Ravens as interested parties (along with a mystery team) but as he mentioned, NFL insider Benjamin Allbright also hinted at a Steelers trade for Aiyuk, showing a month-old text message with a contact and indicating that Pittsburgh was in on making a deal with the 49ers.

Now it seems like me might be trending that way with the 2024 NFL Draft just under two weeks away, which could be a timeline for both teams to be working under to make a trade happen.

NFL Rumors: Brandon Aiyuk requests trade, what Steelers package will look like

So with the trade request reportedly in place and with the Steelers again appearing to remain involved, getting this deal done before the draft should be paramount for both Pittsburgh and San Francisco. What would that trade look like? This deal would make a ton of sense.

Steelers-Aiyuk latest

Because Aiyuk still has a franchise tag year available after this season, the 49ers can demand a bit more than the Bengals likely could in a potential Tee Higgins trade or certainly far more than the Bills got for Stefon Diggs.

As such, the Steelers giving up the No. 20 overall pick should be the starting point, but it's likely to take a bit more than that. Pittsburgh is in a decent position to make that happen, though, using the Eagles compensatory third-round pick acquired in the Kenny Pickett trade as a sweetener, which still leaves Omar Khan with his own third-rounder. Then, with multiple teams interested, a third-for-fifth pick swap next year also helps sweeten the pot.

There is good and bad here for Pittsburgh. The Steelers need offensive line help, specifically at center, but perhaps they could get that at No. 51 overall in the second round. Wide receiver is a dire need as well after the Diontae Johnson trade that left George Pickens without a true running mate to help out Justin Fields or Russell Wilson. And getting a proven commodity like Aiyuk, even while needing to sign him to an extension, could be the surest option to address that.

For San Francisco, if Aiyuk truly wants out, that likely means that an extension just isn't going to happen there. So it would then behoove the 49ers to get what they can, and trading the receiver before the draft would ensure that's the case. Landing a first-round pick would allow them the luxury of targeting someone like LSU's Brian Thomas Jr. with the Steelers' pick and then addressing offensive line or another need at No. 31, their own selection. Or reverse that plan, but it helps the Niners either way.

It's been relatively quiet in the NFL trade market since the Diggs deal, but with the draft looming, things always heat back up. And Aiyuk to the Steelers could be the first huge domino to fall.