ESPN’s: 49ers have signed $26.5 million star from the Green Bay Packers.

ESPN’s: 49ers have signed $26.5 million star from the Green Bay Packers.

Brandon Aiyuk - San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver - ESPN

In the middle of the top wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk’s contract holdout, the San Francisco 49ers may find an ironic substitute for the star in a proposed deal with the Green Bay Packers.

Alex Kay of Bleacher Report speculated that the 49ers would trade wide receiver Christian Watson and a 2025 second-round draft pick to the Packers in exchange for Aiyuk. With a good pick in hand, the 49ers can now build for the future with a terrific young wideout who played on four national championship teams with North Dakota State and learned from Aaron Rodgers.

It would be possible to complete a deal by giving Watson, who has perhaps the most potential of any receiver on this team, and a second-round selection to the 49ers, according to Kay.

Kay continued, “Watson should also greatly intrigue the Niners’ brass.” “Even though he has only played in 23 games since being selected with the 34th overall pick in 2022, when healthy, he has proven to be a reliable scorer. He has scored 14 touchdowns in all since joining the NFL, and San Francisco’s approach should benefit greatly from his unusual combination of size (6-foot-4, 208 pounds) and athleticism.

Watson might also be used by the 49ers as a kick returner. With an average of 26.4 yards per return and two touchdowns in 26 attempts for the Bison, he was a standout in that capacity while attending NDSU. Since 2018, the 49ers have not witnessed a kick returner score a touchdown.

Regarding affordability, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on June 18 that Aiyuk demands a higher salary than the 49ers are willing to give. With two seasons remaining on his four-year, $9.24 million rookie contract, Watson could be acquired by the 49ers for a relative steal, even though Aiyuk could command $26.5 million yearly according to Spotrac.

Ironically, the 49ers’ timing would be ironic if they completed this transaction. Less than a year ago, San Francisco traded away Watson’s previous college quarterback, Trey Lance, to establish Brock Purdy as the primary quarterback.

Two NFL quarterbacks were impressed with Christian Watson. So Far As a rookie with the Packers, Watson gained confidence from Rodgers after meeting with the 49ers during the draft process. That follows a difficult beginning in which he failed to convert a wide-open deep shot in the 2022 season opening.

In December 2022, Rodgers told reporters, “Everyone holds their breath when he gets the ball in space.” That’s the enthusiasm he has instilled in our football team.

In 2023, Rodgers was traded out of the Packers, and quarterback Jordan Love replaced him. Love has also demonstrated faith in Watson.

“He poses a danger that many defenses find unsettling,” Watson informed reporters in December 2022.

Because Watson was limited to nine games in 2023 due to injury, defenses didn’t have to worry as much about him being on the field. Watson had gains in yards per reception, catches per game, yards per game, and touchdowns per game despite his limitations.

It’s unclear if the 49ers would trade for Watson, but Aiyuk’s most recent remarks regarding the 49ers’ contract status grabbed attention. On June 17, he shared an explicit TikTok video in which he warned quarterback Jayden Daniels of the Washington Commanders, a former college teammate, that the 49ers “don’t want me back.”

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