Buccaneers Urged to Trade for All-Pro Wide Receiver

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield could get another star wide receiver.

With Mike Evans’ future in doubt, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could swing for an All-Pro wide receiver fresh off of a Super Bowl.

That’s San Francisco 49ers star wideout Brandon Aiyuk, who has cast doubt on wanting to stay with the team. Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox floated the trade idea, which doesn’t require the Buccaneers to trade Evans in the process.

Tampa Bay would give the No. 26 pick in the NFL Draft plus the No. 89 pick in the third round and a 2025 second round pick in exchange for Aiyuk. In four seasons, Aiyuk has 269 catches for 3,931 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Knox noted that the Buccaneers are “an intriguing landing spot for Aiyuk if they’re able to retain impending free-agent quarterback Baker Mayfield” fresh off of career year. Mayfield emerged as a top-10 signal caller, as Knox noted, amid 4,044 yards passing and 28 touchdowns.

Likewise, Evans had a strong season with 79 receptions for 1,255 yards for 13 touchdowns but awaits free agency. Knox noted that Evans’ numbers with Mayfield “might represent Aiyuk’s floor with Mayfield under center” in 2024.

Aiyuk flourished with 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy this past season, and Purdy went last in the 2022 NFL Draft compared to Mayfield’s No. 1 pick in 2018 status. In 2023, Aiyuk tallied a career-high 1,342 yards, and he caught 75 passes and seven touchdowns in an offense stacked with the Pro Bowl-caliber talent.

Brandon Aiyuk Could Fit in Regardless of Mike Evans’ Future

Aiyuk could fit in with Evans and Chris Godwin on a team that could use another serious threat at receiver. However, Aiyuk would provide the Buccaneers significant insurance if Evans leaves in free agency.

Knox noted that Godwin “remains a high-end No. 2 receiver, so Aiyuk wouldn’t have to deal with being the only focal point of opposing defenses” with the Buccaneers. In addition, Aiyuk carved out his role in complementing fellow 49ers star receiver Deebo Samuel last season.

Aiyuk led the team in receptions, targets, yards, average per catch [10 receptions or more], and touchdowns. Samuel, an explosive playmaker in his own right, had 60 catches for 892 yards and seven touchdowns.

After four solid seasons, Aiyuk awaits a fifth-year option from the 49ers, but he could want more than the projected $14.12 million option since he’s projected for $22.9 million on the free agent market per Spotrac — a particular concern for Tampa Bay.

“The Buccaneers might have to pay a premium, given their status as a potential playoff foe of the 49ers, but they have $43.6 million in projected cap space and could afford to sign Aiyuk long-term,” Knox wrote.

Spotrac projects Aiyuk’s deal for four years, $91.96 million.

Ex-Buccaneers Great John Lynch Wants to Keep Brandon Aiyuk With the 49ers

One hurdle the Buccaneers could face in acquiring Aiyuk is 49ers general manager John Lynch.

While Lynch produced a Hall of Fame career as a player with the Buccaneers, trading Aiyuk to his old team could be something Lynch would want to be cautious of with his current team’s fan base. In addition, Lynch certainly expressed his interest in keeping Aiyuk after the Super Bowl.

“You have to prioritize all these things,” Lynch told reporters on  Tuesday. “You know Brandon’s entering his fifth-year option, Brandon’s been a fantastic player for us. Kyle [Shanahan] calls him a warrior all the time because of how he goes out and competes.”

“And that shines through to anybody, whether you’re a trained eye or you’re a fan, you can see the passion he plays with, you can see the production that he’s had. We’re extremely prideful in what he’s become, and he should be as well,” Lynch added.