Leading insider pours cold water on potential Carolina Panthers trade option

The benefits are obvious...
Brandon Aiyuk
Brandon Aiyuk / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Carolina Panthers have already pulled off one wide receiver trade this offseason. Dan Morgan moved swiftly to secure the services of Diontae Johnson from the Pittsburgh Steelers. This cost nothing more than a late-round pick exchange and cornerback Donte Jackson, who was going to be released in any case.

Although he's accused of being volatile when things aren't going his way, Johnson's exceptional route-running and ability to manipulate opposing cornerbacks should be a tremendous asset for Bryce Young. But make no mistake, more is needed.

The Panthers have two second-round selections to potentially acquire a wide receiver prospect from an outstanding class. If those in power want to explore something a little bolder, then giving the San Francisco 49ers a call to see what it might take to acquire Brandon Aiyuk wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

Carolina Panthers could attempt trade for Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk is looking for a new contract from the Niners that hasn't arrived as yet. They have a lot of established stars with huge money attached. There's also the small matter of quarterback Brock Purdy becoming extension-eligible next year. All things considered, it might be difficult to keep the wideout happy despite the obvious gifts at his disposal.

The former Arizona State star has one year remaining on his deal and recently unfollowed the team on social media. This was a method teammate Deebo Samuel adopted to raise urgency surrounding his contract demands. Whether it has a similar effect or not is another matter.

This situation is rapidly approaching a tipping point. Aiyuk wants the long-term financial security his production deserves. It seems as if San Francisco is reluctant to give out another mammoth deal right now, so a situation could emerge where those in power look to extract maximum compensation in the trade market.

Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network stated that the phone has been ringing. However, the Niners have resisted the temptation to entertain legitimate offers so far based on comments via 49ers Web Zone.

"Obviously, there have been some teams, though, who know that all is not well, who know that he wants a contract extension, some receiver-needy teams who have inquired over the course of the last several months to see [if he could] be available. To my knowledge, the 49ers have not entertained any of those talks. But until and unless an extension gets done, that is going to persist.

"So, we will continue to wait for Brandon Aiyuk to get paid, as he so richly deserves, and to see whether or not he decides to hit that follow-back button."

Good players don't tend to actively choose Carolina in free agency. It's a struggling organization in a small market, so overpaying or identifying potential trade possibilities is the only way to guarantee targets of interest. Dan Morgan is looking to build through the draft, but pass-catchers with Aiyuk's credentials don't grow on trees.

No wide receiver available to the Panthers at No. 33 overall will have Aiyuk's credentials. They might be younger. They might be cheaper. But it won't be close.

What it might cost to tempt the Niners into a deal is another hot topic. Carolina could part ways with one of their early second-rounders and another pick further down the pecking order to further sweeten the pot. John Lynch might want more, but this seems reasonable when one factors everything into the equation.

Of course, Aiyuk needs to be paid and the Panthers aren't exactly flush with cash currently. However, if anyone can manipulate the salary cap to the team's advantage in this scenario, it's Brandt Tilis.

Although the benefits of acquiring someone like Aiyuk in a draft-day trade are there for all to see, it seems unlikely. Morgan is planning for the future and wants to adopt a more traditional approach to roster construction. And yet, this isn't the band-aid reclamation project gamble previous regimes were enamored with.

This is the NFL, so nothing should be completely dismissed. But it would be a bombshell of epic proportions if the Panthers pulled this off.