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Here’s why George Kittle is ‘not concerned’ about teammate Brandon Aiyuk’s contract situation

One of the most interesting storylines to follow this offseason has been the contract negotiations between the San Francisco 49ers and star wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk

There were rumors before the NFL Draft that the Niners could trade one of Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel, and the drumbeat of that possibility got even louder when the team selected former University of Florida wideout Ricky Pearsall in Round 1. But the rest of the draft passed without such a trade coming to fruition, and then general manager John Lynch declared that the Niners wouldn’t be trading either receiver, which meant that attention turned to Aiyuk, who is heading into the fifth-year option season on his rookie contract.

And there have been plenty of twists and turns in that saga: In May, the two sides were reportedly not close to an agreement on a long-term deal. Aiyuk then skipped OTAs, which was followed by quarterback Brock Purdy declaring it “extremely important” to get a deal done with Aiyuk. Then Aiyuk skipped mandatory minicamp, and it was reported that San Francisco’s latest offer to him landed outside the top five wide receiver salaries. Aiyuk then took it upon himself to stir some things up. He told former college teammate (and new Commanders quarterback) Jayden Daniels that the Niners “don’t want me back;” he listed the Commanders and Steelers as his top two options if he were to be traded; he shared footage on social media of himself watching Commanders practice film

And yet, there is one person who is not at all worried about the situation: star teammate George Kittle.

“I think, if you look at my career, being a 49er, and the way most of the contracts have gone — I didn’t get signed until the second week of training camp, Deebo (Samuel) was pretty late,” Kittle said during an interview on “The Rich Eisen Show.” (Nick) Bosa was the first week of the season. That’s just how business is done out there. I’m not in the meetings. I have no idea. I actually go out of my way to not talk to anybody going through contract negotiations, so when people ask me questions, I’m like: I have absolutely no idea.

“But I’m not concerned about it. Aiyuk’s a phenomenal football player who’s a big part of our offense, and he’s one of the most complete receivers that I’ve ever played with. So I’m gonna assume that Aiyuk’s gonna be on our team by the time the season starts.”

Perhaps Kittle is right. The Niners have indeed taken a while to get deals done with their homegrown stars. Maybe it plays out the same way for Aiyuk. If San Francisco doesn’t offer more than what has been reported to date, though, that does seem at least a little unlikely. The longer the situation lingers, the more concerning it becomes. But it is still July, and there is plenty of time for it to work itself out.

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Author: Jared Dubin
July 11, 2024 | 12:15 pm

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