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Niners GM John Lynch says WR Brandon Aiyuk is not available for trade

Anyone pining for a Brandon Aiyuk trade might have to alter their expectations after hearing San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch's most recent statements about the talented wide receiver.

Lynch relayed a story from the owners meetings on Monday about talking to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin at Michigan's pro day last week when the subject of Aiyuk came up. The wide receiver is due to enter the final year of his rookie contract and has been the subject of trade speculation -- including to Tomlin's Steelers -- but from the sound of it, Aiyuk isn't available. Lynch echoed past statements about wanting to keep his wide receiver in tow.

"[Tomlin] is like, 'Bro, what's going on,'" Lynch told media, via "I promise you nothing's going on there."

In fact, Lynch said the 49ers are trying to find a way to keep Aiyuk, even with a thorny salary-cap situation.

"We're actively talking with Brandon trying to figure something out," Lynch said. "We have a good history of working with the guys we want to get done to get something done, and it takes two sides. So, can we do that? We'll see."

Lynch said the two sides are talking and that it's a "good thing." The team wants to draft, develop and retain as many homegrown players as possible, even if they can't keep everyone.

"There's nothing better than drafting a guy, developing a guy, watching him flourish and then rewarding him," Lynch said. "That's really what we'd love to do."

The 49ers haven't nailed all their first-round picks, but Aiyuk has been a hit. He caught 75 passes for a career-high 1,358 yards and seven touchdowns last season, earning second-team All-Pro. Aiyuk, who turned 26 this month, has increased his receiving yards in each of the past three seasons.

The past few years, the team has found ways to pay defensive end Nick Bosa, receiver Deebo Samuel, linebacker Fred Warner and tight end George Kittle. The 49ers currently have just over $7 million in effective cap space, per Over The Cap. They have eight current players -- including Aiyuk, who is playing on his fifth-year tender for $14.1 million -- hitting the cap for $12 million or more in 2024.

Lynch didn't completely dismiss the idea of trading Aiyuk at some point, however, but Lynch made it clear Aiyuk remained a priority. 

"There's a number of different directions that it could go, but we appreciate the heck out of Brandon and who he is as a player, and we want him to be a part of the Niners," Lynch said. "We're going to work towards making that a reality."

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