Jaguars not a viable trade partner for veteran WRs after Brian Thomas Jr. pick

• The Jaguars bolstered their WR corps with Brian Thomas Jr.

• They no longer have a need at the position

Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars were in need of help at wide receiver when they lost Calvin Ridley in free agency. They got it when they selected Brian Thomas Jr. with the 23rd overall pick in the draft. By taking the former LSU standout, the Jags should no longer be in consideration to trade for a veteran receiver.

Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, and even Deebo Samuel have been seen as potential trade candidates throughout the draft circle. At least one of them could still change teams, but the Jags won't be making any calls about any of them after drafting Thomas.

Jacksonville inquired about Aiyuk after free agency, but the San Francisco 49ers' asking price quickly made them lose interest. At the time, they were asking for the 17th overall selection and Zay Jones. That seemed excessive especially after the Houston Texans got four-time Pro Bowl receiver Stefon Diggs in exchange for just a second-rounder.

The first time came and went and no deal was made for Aiyuk. He could still be dealt but the Niners won't be getting a top-32 pick anytime soon. In fact, they may also be willing to move Deebo Samuel. San Francisco says that trading them is unlikely but their decision to select Ricky Pearsall at No. 31 might be a sign that they're bracing themselves for the possibility.

Aiyuk isn't the only veteran wideout who could be traded during the draft. Tee Higgins requested a trade after getting the franchise tag. The Cincinnati Bengals expect him to play for them in 2024 and it looked like he was resigned to staying in Cincy. However, he's doubled down on his desire to change teams.

It's not that Higgins doesn't want to stay with the Bengals. Rather, he wants an extension, and he's not pleased with the lack of contract talks he's had with the team. He, like Aiyuk, could be moved on Day 2 of the draft.

Trading for Brandon Aiyuk or Tee Higgins is no longer feasible for the Jaguars

All things considered, drafting Brian Thomas Jr. was the right call. The Jacksonville Jaguars didn't have to give up compensation to get him, and he'll have a manageable cap hit for the next four years. On top of that, they managed to get three extra draft picks when they moved down six spots.

Had they traded for Brandon Aiyuk or Tee Higgins, the Jags would've had to, at least, part ways with a second-rounder, and give them a top-market extension. Without that second-round pick, they would have trouble addressing their remaining needs.

The team's brass still needs to bolster the cornerback position, and there's still plenty of talent available on Day 2. They also need to round out their pass rush rotation, and by keeping their picks and getting a few extra, Jacksonville should have no trouble taking care of both.

Make no mistake, Brandon Aiyuk and Tee Higgins could've made an impact for the Jaguars right off the bat, but the front office opted to take a flyer on Brian Thomas Jr. While unproven, he's got the upside to be as productive as his veteran counterparts.

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