Patriots Predicted to Trade 3 Draft Picks for Projected $96 Million Star

Patriots potential trade target Brandon Aiyuk (left) of the 49ers.

Getty Patriots potential trade target Brandon Aiyuk (left) of the 49ers.

So things did not quite work out for the Patriots on the free-agent market when it came to signing a top-level free-agent wide receiver. They came close on Calvin Ridley, who was lured by the promise of no state income taxes in Tennessee, but were not even in the ballpark on guys like Mike Evans and Michael Pittman.

The receiver room does figure to be better with the return of Kendrick Bourne and the addition of free-agent signee KJ Osborn, but neither is a No. 1 guy. The Pats are sure to take a stab in the receiver-heavy NFL draft, too, possibly with their No. 34 overall second-rounder.

But if the Patriots truly want the best possible receiver as they remake their offense, they were always going to have to look to make a trade. And the best trade candidate out there is with the defending NFC champion 49ers, where salary-cap restrictions and an increasingly sour team-player relationship could lead to a trade of star Brandon Aiyuk.

At Bleacher Report, they’re foreseeing a pretty strong package going from New England to the 49ers with the Pats finally getting the No. 1 target they so badly need.

Affordable Draft Compensation for Brandon Aiyuk

Here’s the deal laid out by B/R writer Gary Davenport:

“Patriots Get: WR Brandon Aiyuk, 2024 Round 5 Pick (No. 176)

“49ers Get: 2024 Round 2 Pick (No. 34), 2024 Round 4 Pick (No. 103), 2025 Round 2 Pick.”

All things considered, that is not a tremendous price to pay for the Pats, especially considering Aiyuk only turned 26 last month and has a lot of good years ahead of him. It’s hard to imagine the 49ers would trade away Aiyuk without there being a first-rounder involved.

The Pats would not trade the No. 3 overall pick this year, but they could trade away 2025’s first-rounder instead of the second-rounder. That might get such a deal done.

Wrote Davenport: “It’s not hard to see why Mayo would make that statement. New England’s top receiver is probably DeMario Douglas, who is scaring exactly zero opposing defenses. That isn’t going to help New England’s new quarterback develop.

“With the third overall pick off the table, the Patriots would probably have to offer multiple Round 2 picks to the 49ers to get a deal done. But it’s likely that a 2025 second-rounder will be relatively high in the round, and a third pick just outside the top 100 could sweeten the pot a little more.”

Patriots Could Offer More (& More) Money

Now, Aiyuk wants to win. That makes the Patriots a tough sell to a guy who is in the final year of his contract and needs an extension. But if the Patriots were able to secure LSU star quarterback Jayden Daniels with the No. 3 pick, it might make the sale easier—Daniels started his career at Arizona State before transferring, where his top receiver as a freshman was none other than Aiyuk.

It also helps that the Patriots have oodles of cap space and could afford to make Aiyuk one of the highest paid receivers in the game. Aiyuk’s projected market value at Spotrac is $24 million per year, for a four-year, $96 million deal. That is likely out of the 49ers’ range.

But the Patriots could fit that into their books. They could even give Aiyuk a bit more. It’s unlikely they’d top the $30 million per year that Tyreek Hill gets from Miami, but they could move Aiyuk into Davante Adams territory with $28 million per year, which is No. 2 among all receivers.

Of course, it’s hardly certain that the 49ers will trade Aiyuk, who is coming off an All-Pro season in which he racked up 1,342 yards on 75 catches with seven touchdowns. No doubt, they’d like to keep him. But reports have stated that the 49ers and Aiyuk have made little progress on an extension.

As long as that’s the case, there’s a chance for the Pats to pull a surprise.

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