Jaguars odds of trading for an established receiver not looking great

• Trading for a veteran receiver now seems like a distant possibility for the Jaguars.
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) makes a
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) makes a / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars could use reinforcements at wide receiver, and trading for a veteran seemed like a possibility until recently. However, a pair of recent developments will force the Jags to look somewhere else for help.

Tee Higgins requested a trade when he got the franchise tag before free agency. However, he's indicated at his youth football camp that he anticipates returning to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2024. Injuries held him back last year, so perhaps he's decided that staying put and rebuilding his stock is the best course of action.

Under the tag, Higgins is set to make $21.8 million next season. That's not chump change, so he can afford to wait one year to hit the open market. That's a strong possibility when you take into account that the Bengals may choose to pay teammate Ja'Marr Chase. On the other hand, Higgins wasn't the only wideout the Jaguars could've acquired via trade.

Brandon Aiyuk wants a new deal and he isn't pleased the San Francisco 49ers haven't given one. He's posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and earned a Second-Team All-Pro designation last year. He wants an extension that reflects his status as one of the top receivers in the league, but the lack of contract talks led to Aiyuk being the subject of trade talks.

The Jags reportedly inquired about Aiyuk but the Niners wanted the No. 17 overall pick in the draft and wide receiver Zay Jones. Add the fact that Jacksonville would need to give Aiyuk a top-market contract and they quickly lost interest. However, Aiyuk still seemed like a potential trade target because the Houston Texans acquired Stefon Diggs in exchange for a second-rounder.

Maybe after watching the Texans give up a second-round pick for a premier receiver, San Francisco would lower their asking price for Aiyuk. But just a couple weeks before the 2024 NFL Draft, his agent debunked reports about Aiyuk wanting a trade.

This makes you think that Aiyuk might indeed be frustrated with the way negotiations have unfolded but he doesn't plan to go anywhere anytime soon. As a matter of fact, he's still under contract through 2024, so the 49ers still have time to get something done.

The Jaguars have options at WR beyond Tee Higgins and Brandon Aiyuk

Trading for either Tee Higgins or Brandon Aiyuk now looks like a remote possibility but the Jacksonville Jaguars still have multiple options. Nearly all of them lie in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Jags hold pick No. 17. At that point of the first round, the likes of Brian Thomas Jr., and Adonai Mitchell will still be available.

The Jags could also move into the top 10, preferably at No. 9 if either Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze is available. The issue with that strategy is that there's no guarantee either one will still be on board, and the cost of trading up may be too much. Still, it should not be ruled out.

But if the Jaguars want to prioritize other positions, they can wait until the second of the third down and still come out with a good player. After all, this year's receiver class is pretty deep. Troy Franklin, Ricky Pearsall, and Jalen McMillan (he had a top-30 visit with the Jags) should all be options on Day 2 of the draft.

The bottom line is that Tee Higgins and Brandon Aiyuk are pretty much off the table but that's not a bad thing. It only means that the Jacksonville Jaguars will have to lean on the draft to look for receiver help.

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