Excessive asking price makes Jaguars pass on Brandon Aiyuk

• The Jaguars weren't thrilled about the 49ers' asking price for Brandon Aiyuk

Nov 21, 2022; Mexico City, MEXICO; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) celebrates
Nov 21, 2022; Mexico City, MEXICO; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) celebrates / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars were exploring the possibility of trading for Brandon Aiyuk after losing Calvin Ridley in free agency. The interest was seemingly mutual, so there was a chance a deal could take place. However, the Jags became disenchanted once the San Francisco 49ers told them their asking price for the 2023 Second-Team All-Pro.

Mia O'Brien of 1010 XL reports that San Francisco wanted Jacksonville's first-round pick, No. 17 overall, and wide receiver Zay Jones. On top of that, the Jags would've needed to give Aiyuk a new deal. Not surprisingly, their interest has cooled down since then. A trade could still take place but it will be unlikely unless the 49ers' asking prices go down.

All things considered, the 49ers' request isn't reasonable. Make no mistake, Aiyuk is a rising star. He was the 49ers' leading receiver last year and is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. When you take into account that he plays on the same offense as Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, and Deebo Samuel, his production looks more impressive.

Having said that, Aiyuk may deservedly ask for top-market money and the Jaguars are running out of cap space after making several moves in free agency. Sure, they could pull off a trade for the star receiver but they would be left without many resources to address other needs.

Granted, the Jags already filled many holes but they still have a few more they need to take care of. They may be better off using the cap space and draft pick required to trade for Aiyuk to bolster other position groups. After all, they still need a starting cornerback and their pass rush rotation could most definitely use a boost.

Jaguars should draft a receiver at No. 17 instead of trading for Brandon Aiyuk

The benefits of trading for Brandon Aiyuk are clear. He would give the Jaguars a WR1 who can draw coverage away and prevent defenses from stacking the box. On the other hand, acquiring him would limit the team's ability to make other moves this year and next. They need to start re-signing their 2021 draft class and that will prove to be difficult if they give Aiyuk a premium contract and part ways with the first-round pick.

Maybe if San Francisco was solely asking for the Jaguars' first-round pick, a deal would be more likely. But having to send Zay Jones to the 49ers makes it a no-go. It's true that Jones is coming off a down year but he was held back by a PCL injury.

Back in 2022, Jones was a key cog on the offense, and it's fair to assume he'll bounce back next season if he's healthy. Maybe that's why the Jags could be reluctant to either trade him or release him despite the fact that his departure would give them cap savings.

A better, and more realistic, course of action would be to draft a wide receiver in the first round. This year's class is stacked at the position and the Jaguars should be in a position to take one of the top prospects at No. 17. Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers will probably be off the board by then, but Rome Odunze, Keon Coleman or Brain Thomas Jr. should still be available.

Granted, draft prospects are unproven commodities, regardless of how talented they were at the collegiate level. Then again, all of them come with upside, and playing under a rookie deal will ensure their cap hit is manageable for at least four years. All those factors could incentivize the Jaguars to target a young receiver early in the draft instead of trading for Aiyuk.

The bottom line is that Brandon Aiyuk is a talented receiver. He deserves to get paid as much as he can but the truth is that the Jacksonville Jaguars may be better off going in a different route, especially because of the 49ers' asking price.

Here are more stories from Black & Teal: