Aiyuk, who replaced Harry at Arizona State, was not only picked by the 49ers in the first round, but he was selected after they traded tons of draft capital to acquire him 25th overall.
After totaling 825 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns as a rookie, Aiyuk looked poised for a breakout season in 2021.
For no discernable reason, other than some vague quotes about “grinding” from Shanahan, Aiyuk has been relegated to backup duty, catching just nine passes for 96 yards this season. San Francisco has fallen out of love with him, and New England stands to benefit from that friction.
Aiyuk could easily be on the trade market, as San Francisco needs to get some picks to potentially find a replacement. The Patriots are in a position to get a little frisky at the deadline, and that could involve getting Aiyuk in order to add a whole new dimension to their passing attack.
The Patriots should consider a Brandon Aiyuk trade.
In many ways, Aiyuk is the anti-Harry. While Harry is a bigger receiver that struggled at getting separation, Aiyuk was one of the shiftiest receivers in this class, and when Shanahan used him during his rookie season, he looked lethal at times on shorter routes that require explosion.
Aiyuk, who got time over Kendrick Bourne on the West Coast and represents a bit of a higher-ceiling option than Nelson Agholor, would only cost a few Day 2 or Day 3 picks. Speedy enough to stretch the field and a game-changing player when he’s running with the ball in his hands, he’s perfect for a young quarterback like Jones.
If Aiyuk comes to town, putting him in the slot alongside Bourne and Agholor with Jakobi Meyers relegated to WR4 duty would instantly give them an upper echelon collection of receivers and tight ends for Jones to throw too. Aiyuk is still just 23, so his best football is very clearly in the windshield.
Some Pats fans might have PTSD after Belichick traded a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu, but Aiyuk is a potential budding star that could be available for pennies on the dollar. That is always worth trading a pick for, especially when Aiyuk has already shown so much in San Francisco.