Brandon Aiyuk (April 22, 2024) [1296x729]
Brandon Aiyuk (April 22, 2024) [1296x729] (Credit: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Before taking any questions at his annual pre-draft news conference, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch did his best to preempt any queries about the one topic that has lingered over the franchise this offseason: wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk's contract situation.

Lynch opened Monday's session by spending the first three minutes thanking his personnel department for their work leading up to this week's draft. He then offered a disclaimer on Aiyuk before inevitably receiving multiple questions about him.

"I've communicated on many occasions: our wish is that he's here and part of the Niners for the rest of his career," Lynch said. "We're working through that ... I can say we're having good talks, and I'm just going to leave it at that."

Indeed, Lynch's opening statement about Aiyuk lines up with everything both he and coach Kyle Shanahan have said about the star wideout for more than a year. Which is to say that, despite the constant outside rumors, the 49ers have no intention of trading Aiyuk either before, at or after this week's NFL draft.

That doesn't mean the speculation will stop, at least not until Aiyuk puts pen to paper on what would be a lucrative contract extension to stay in San Francisco.

As it stands, Aiyuk, who is coming off a 75-catch, 1,342-yard, 7-touchdown season that landed him a second-team All-Pro nod, is scheduled to play the 2024 season on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. That contract is slated to come with a $14.124 million salary cap hit in 2024.

At the league meetings in Orlando last month, Lynch said that the Niners and Aiyuk's representatives had already begun discussing the parameters of an extension. In theory, San Francisco could actually lower Aiyuk's cap number for 2024 and push bigger salaries into future seasons when some of its other big-money stars are off the books.

On Monday, Lynch also acknowledged that he has received calls from other teams interested in Aiyuk but again made it clear there is no desire to trade him.

"We're really focused on BA being part of us," Lynch said.

There was, however, one notable shift in tone for Lynch in Monday's proceedings as he conceded that he would like to get an extension for Aiyuk done earlier than previous such deals for the likes of tight end George Kittle, linebacker Fred Warner, receiver Deebo Samuel and defensive end Nick Bosa.

The Niners have done a big deal with each of those players over the past four offseasons with all of them getting done either just before or early in training camp or, in Bosa's case, just before the start of the regular season.

Over the past two years, both Samuel and Bosa have said they believed the time away from the team and contract negotiations contributed to a bit of a drop-off in performance, something Aiyuk would like to avoid.

"I think that's important," Lynch said. "I'd like to have our business tidied up. Those things, they ran the course they needed to, and I'm proud of our record of getting the guys we want to get done done. But I am right there with everyone else. I'd sure like it to happen sooner."

The 49ers began the first phase of their offseason program last week and thus far Aiyuk has not been a participant in those voluntary sessions, though he has been around the team facility this offseason for workouts and rehab.

Quarterback Brock Purdy said Monday he has been in touch with Aiyuk via text and has run into Aiyuk when he has been around the facility.

"I've told him I want what's the best for him and love for him," Purdy said. "That's really been about it."

This week's NFL draft figures to be an important benchmark in Aiyuk's situation. Asked Monday if there was any chance Aiyuk is not on the Niners' roster come Friday (the draft's second day), Lynch said he "wouldn't anticipate that."

Still, while Lynch and Shanahan have said repeatedly that they intend to keep Aiyuk long term, that dynamic could shift if another team makes an offer that's too good to pass up. Lynch and Shanahan have often joked that they would trade each other if the proposal was good enough.

For his part, Aiyuk hasn't shied away from using social media as a means to apply pressure to the Niners to get something done sooner than later. He recently unfollowed the 49ers and has expressed frustration via emojis on Instagram.

Warner, who signed a five-year, $95 million extension in July 2021, said Monday that patience is always required in deals the magnitude of what Aiyuk is seeking.

"Anytime there's that amount of money on the line, you're talking about tens of millions of dollars that you're being paid to perform at the highest level, it is going to take time," Warner said.