Why the Packers could trade for Brandon Aiyuk (but shouldn't)

Breaking down the benefits and costs of a potential Brandon Aiyuk trade.
Brandon Aiyuk
Brandon Aiyuk / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

It is no secret that the San Fransisco 49ers and star wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk have been far apart on a contract extension for quite some time.

Aiyuk wishes to be paid somewhere north of $30 million per season, and the 49ers have not been very receptive to meeting that price range over a long period. Some reports have indicated that Aiyuk and the Niners were close to striking a deal before the receiver market exploded, with players such as Justin Jefferson and AJ Brown receiving lucrative contracts, raising Aiyuk's price tag.

As much depth as the Green Bay Packers have at wide receiver, the possibility of acquiring the star receiver cannot be ruled out.

Aiyuk is a game-changer in any offense he is a part of and has the potential to catapult the Packers' offense to the next level. There are many costs and benefits to trading for Aiyuk, which makes fans wonder whether trading for the Niner receiver is the right move.

The benefits of the Packers trading for Brandon Aiyuk

The benefits of trading for Brandon Aiyuk are rather obvious: He is an elite talent who would immediately be the WR1 in Green Bay. Aiyuk would certainly lead the team in every statistical category for a wide receiver, becoming dominant in a powerful offense that features star-studded players all over the field.

Having a target who can truly catch anything thrown his way would cause problems for opposing defenses, who still have to stop the likes of Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Christian Watson, and Luke Musgrave.

Aiyuk would demand far more attention from opposing defensive backs, opening up more areas for head coach Matt LaFleur and the offense to attack, both on the ground and through the air. To no one's surprise, adding an All-Pro caliber wide receiver to quarterback Jordan Love's arsenal would only fuel the fire behind the Packers' offense, leading to some outstanding numbers for Love.

Aiyuk could be the missing piece that the Packers' offense needs to elevate to the next level and push Green Bay further toward a championship. Just about every Super Bowl-winning team has at least one elite pass-catcher on their roster, which helps get teams over the hump. If the Packers decided to bring in Aiyuk, their Super Bowl window would appear to only open wider.

The costs of the Packers trading for Brandon Aiyuk

Could the Packers afford Brandon Aiyuk's contract?

If the Packers pulled the trigger on Brandon Aiyuk, the front office would still need to manage to pay him what he is worth in a long-term deal. Aiyuk would rightfully deserve a contract of over $30 million per season in a deal lasting around four years.

With such a talented roster that is already paying out lucrative deals to players such as Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, and soon-to-be Jordan Love, it is unclear where the Packers would find room in the budget to afford a player of Aiyuk's caliber. It is only a matter of time before the Packers currently on rookie deals need to cash in for a pay-day of their own, and signing Aiyuk may force the team to let many young talents walk away.

Adding Aiyuk to Green Bay's core would practically force the current group to be disbanded in some capacity. The reality of the NFL is that you cannot always afford to pay everybody, and it would only be a matter of time before someone is forced to look elsewhere for a contract.

Aiyuk would demand a heavy amount of targets

Aiyuk would be the Packers' best wide receiver. However, he would demand more targets than the current offense is designed to give him. LaFleur has built his current offensive scheme around spreading the ball around, not allowing defenses to know who Green Bay is going to run the offense through any given week.

There are at least five wide receivers on the Packers' roster that could be the leading receiver in any game, while Aiyuk's target share would not allow for any other receiver to lead the team.

Having five receivers that could take the lead any week is more valuable than having one receiver your quarterback always locks in on first. It cannot be forgotten that the Packers have had multiple playoff runs end because of quarterback Aaron Rodgers locking in on receiver Davante Adams far too often.

The teams that make it far into the postseason know how to shut down a top receiver, and bringing in a guy like Aiyuk could lead Green Bay into a similar situation, where they struggle to have offensive success in the postseason.

Aaron Rodgers' miss of a wide-open Allen Lazard in the 2022 playoff loss to San Francisco can be dismissed as a mistake, but it is hard to imagine that Adams was not the guy Green Bay desperately wanted to get the ball to on a crucial third-and-10. If the Packers acquire Aiyuk, LaFleur and Jordan Love must be on the same page when it comes to spreading the ball around and finding the open player.

Why the Packers shouldn't trade for Brandon Aiyuk

The Packers should not trade for Aiyuk.

As exciting as it may be for fans to see a new star receiver in Green Bay, the team should avoid making the move. The Packers' current receiving corps is so strong as it is and continues to be such a tight-knit group.

A $30 million addition would not only cause unnecessary cap casualties in Green Bay but would also jeopardize the chemistry within the offense that began to blossom near the end of the 2023 season.

The Packers have such a unique way of spreading the ball around to their numerous playmakers, which many would argue is equally, and if not more difficult, to stop than a true number-one receiver. Aiyuk would demand far too many targets and ruin the flow of LaFleur's offense. With the Packers' offense already being such a powerful force, Aiyuk's price tag and demand for targets adds more potential for harm than anything else.

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