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Niners' Brandon Aiyuk not participating in OTAs as he looks for new deal

Brandon Aiyuk is one of several San Francisco 49ers skipping voluntary offseason team activities this week.

The second-team All-Pro wants a new contract that better aligns his pay with the burgeoning wide receiver market. The sides haven't yet gotten close to a deal, so Aiyuk is staying away from voluntary workouts.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan dismissed concern about Aiyuk's absence.

"Same as I do about all these guys that aren't here," Shanahan said on Tuesday when asked about the situation, via the team's official transcript. "I wish they were here, but it's something that's part of the business and anytime it's part of the business part you try to respect it. Stay out of it as much as possible. Look forward to the days when we can just focus on football."

The 49ers are missing several key offensive players for OTAs. Christian McCaffrey and Jauan Jennings are also not participating. The reason for CMC's absence is unknown. Jennings has yet to ink his restricted contract tender.

Aiyuk is set to earn $14.124 million on the fifth-year option in 2024. With 18 WRs making north of $20 million per year, Aiyuk is underpaid in relation to his worth. The wideout's camp might point to Amon-Ra St. Brown's roughly $30 million-per-year in new money average as to where Aiyuk deserves to be. The Niners could counter that St. Brown's numbers have outdistanced Aiyuk thus far, and Deebo Samuel is at only $23.85 million. If Aiyuk were in an offense that funneled the ball his way like the Lions do St. Brown, perhaps his numbers would be bigger. Can you see how negotiations could get circular at this point?

Rumors swirled during the 2024 NFL Draft that Aiyuk or Samuel could get traded. Ultimately, the Niners stood pat, much to the relief of quarterback Brock Purdy.

"The draft is going on and stuff, and obviously you're excited to get guys that you're drafting, but at the same time, it's like, 'dang dude, we could have some kind of trade stuff happen and whatever,'" Purdy said on Tuesday. "But like I said, all that's out of my control. I was sort of just sitting there, waiting to see what our team was going to do and everything. My job is to show up and rip it to the open guy and try to win games. So that's my mindset with it. But I do love my boys and I obviously hope that we can all continue to play together."

The Niners seem willing to play things out in 2024 and determine the future next year. The question is whether they can convince Aiyuk to walk that path in search of another Super Bowl run or whether the wideout will have an extended holdout.

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