Jacksonville Jaguars better off holding onto WR Laviska Shenault

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (10). [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (10). [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] /

Wide receiver Laviska Shenault will have to earn playing time this offseason and is currently sitting behind Marvin Jones Jr., Zay Jones, and Christian Kirk. This, along with his talent, makes him an enticing trade candidate but the Jacksonville Jaguars are better off keeping him around.

Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report recently discussed one move every NFL team still has to make this offseason and argues that the Jags should move on from Shenault. Moton notes Kirk and Jones will get plenty of targets given that Jacksonville paid retail for their services. Moreover, veteran Marvin Jones will still be an important part of the passing game, potentially leaving Viska as “the odd man out”. Moton even mentions a few potential destinations for the third-year receiver.

"Shenault caught 63 passes for 619 yards last season, but he didn’t score a touchdown. Going into his third year, he still has a ton of upside and could appeal to other clubs such as the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and Baltimore Ravens, who may want to shore up their wide receiver unit with a player who can line up on the perimeter or in the slot. Jacksonville should be able to fetch a middle-round pick for the 2020 second-rounder, and it would be wise to do so."

Before the draft, the Jags reportedly placed Shenault on the trade block, so a deal shouldn’t be ruled out, especially if other clubs suffer an injury in the offseason and make an offer that is too good to pass up. Having said that, just because Jacksonville considered moving on from Shenault doesn’t mean that they want to do it now. In fact, they should hold onto Shenault precisely for depth reasons.

The Jaguars can’t pull the plug on Laviska Shenault yet.

There’s no way around it. Shenault underperformed last season and does deserve blame for his lack of impact on the Jaguars’ offense last season. On the other hand, the team went through a tough year and the coaching staff didn’t want to put him in a position to succeed.

Shenault now has to compete for playing time, which may not be fair but the NFL has always been about ‘what have you done for me lately?’ and he is coming off a down year, so it’s hard to justify giving him more snaps over newcomers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. Then again, it’s not too late for Shenault, who has a chance to show he can be a difference-maker. Maybe he will be able to rebound after a rocky campaign, and that’s a possibility the team’s brass must consider.

The fact that Shenault has volunteered to return duties reflects well on him, as he’s doing anything he can to stick around. Also, there are still a few months before the start of the regular season, so the receiver will have plenty of time to make a case. Furthermore, other clubs will be paying close attention and if they think he can help them, they might give general manager Trent Baalke a call. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to trade Shenault if they’re going to be offered a late-round pick.

The Jaguars’ wide receiver corps isn’t elite but it’s well-rounded and that has the depth to withstand a few injuries. While trading Shenault might be a tempting proposition, they need to give him a chance to bounce back before they pull the plug on him.

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