Jaguars may still have their sights set on a trade for WR Brandon Aiyuk

Dec 31, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
Dec 31, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has been the subject of trade talks throughout the offseason. It doesn't look like the San Francisco 49ers are planning to trade him but the Jacksonville Jaguars seemingly remain interested.

Twitter user Pretty Rickey says the Jags are still interested in acquiring Aiyuk and believes a second-rounder could get a deal done. However, he points out that they would like to give Trevor Lawrence an extension before they pursue the 2023 Second-Team All-Pro receiver.

In a later post, Rickey says the Washington Commanders, the New York Giants, and the New England Patriots are the teams most likely to trade for Aiyuk. Granted, Rickey isn't an insider but he's got a pretty good record of breaking news, so everyone pays close attention to what he's got to say.

On the same day Rickey talked about Jacksonville's interest in Aiyuk, his agent shut down a rumor about the Pittsburgh Steelers wanting to trade for him.

Previously, Williams dismissed a report that claimed Aiyuk had requested a trade, pointing out that whoever came up with the scoop needed better sources. Now, just because the Jags want to trade for Aiyuk doesn't mean that the Niners will listen to offers.

Having said that, this may be an intriguing scenario worth exploring if San Francisco asked for a second in exchange for Aiyuk. The Jaguars are extremely high on Malik Nabers, one of the top receiver prospects in this year's draft, according to John Shipley of Sports Illustrated.

However, Jacksonville will need to trade up into the top 10 to have a shot at landing him. The Chicago Bears at No. 9 would be a potential trade partner but there's a chance Nabers will be gone by then. In that case, trading for Aiyuk may become a fallback option.

Trading for Brandon Aiyuk comes with a downside for the Jaguars

Brandon Aiyuk has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He was arguably the 49ers' best offensive player last year, which is noteworthy because they're stacked with difference-makers. There's no doubt Aiyuk would give the Jaguars a WR1 that could make their offense one of the best not just in the AFC South but in the whole conference. Then again, acquiring Aiyuk comes with a caveat.

Besides having to give up a second round, the Jaguars would need to give Aiyuk an extension, and it won't be cheap. He's still got one year left on his rookie deal but wants a new contract. The 49ers haven't caved in, which is partially why he's been the subject of trade fodder since the end of the 2023 season.

For the sake of argument, let's say the Jaguars manage to extend Trevor Lawrence and then trade for Aiyuk. Giving him a top-market contract would prevent the top brass from giving new deals to players such as safety Andre Cisco, who's entering a contract year. Similarly, Cam Robinson and Walker Little are set to become free agents next season.

Jacksonville may want to bring one of them back but it may not be possible if they trade for Aiyuk and give him a new deal. Meanwhile, they may need to give up draft picks to trade up for Malik Nabers but his cap hit will be manageable while he's on his rookie contract. That would give the front office the flexibility to make a few signings if needed.

The truth is that trading for Brandon Aiyuk would allow the Jacksonville Jaguars to keep up in the AFC South race. That said, it won't come cheap, so they must weigh the pros and cons.

Here are more Jaguars news: