Jaguars should listen to Sauce Gardner if they're looking for receiver help in 2024

• Sauce Gardner recently talked about one receiver teams should trade for offseason, and one the Jaguars should consider if Calvin Ridley leaves.

New York Jets v Cleveland Browns
New York Jets v Cleveland Browns / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

When it comes to NFL cornerbacks, not many are better than the New York Jets' Sauce Gardner. Having gone against the best in the business, Gardner knows a thing or two about the wide receiver position, so the Jacksonville Jaguars should listen to his opinion about Brandon Aiyuk.

Gardner recently weighed in on Aiyuk's playmaking skills. The All-Pro cornerback noted that even though he won't get the ball, Aiyuk is routinely open and should get the opportunity to make plays. Here's the message he posted on Twitter on the subject matter.

Although Aiyuk was the San Francisco 49ers' top target in the regular season, hauling in 75 receptions for 1,342 yards with eight touchdowns, he only mustered nine catches for 149 yards with one touchdown in three postseason games, including the Super Bowl. Rightfully, there are going to be questions about his lack of impact, but Gardner rightfully points out that it's not Aiyuk's fault that he wasn't targeted.

A first-round pick by the Niners in 2020, Aiyuk is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. However, he won't become a free agent until 2025 because his fifth-year option was picked. But despite being under contract for another season, he's made it clear he wants to stay in San Francisco only if the price is right, which has led to speculation of him potentially getting traded this offseason.

One of the teams Aiyuk has been linked to is the Jacksonville Jaguars, with Calvin Ridley set to become a free agent and Zay Jones potentially being a cap casualty. Aiyuk would give the Jags a bonafide No. 1 receiver, the trouble of acquiring him would be that they would have to make a considerable investment.

Trading for Aiyuk would cost a first-round pick, maybe more. On top of that, he'll want a new contract if he changes teams. Already, Jacksonville owes the Atlanta Falcons a third-round pick because of the Ridley trade, and it will be a second if he gets an extension before free agency starts.

For the sake of argument, let's say, the Jags let Ridley walk and later trade for Aiyuk, they would be without their first and third-round picks. When you take into account that they have other needs to address, acquiring the star receiver may not be feasible.

The Jaguars may be better off keeping Calvin Ridley than trading Brandon Aiyuk

Make no mistake, Brandon Aiyuk is a difference-maker and just because the Jaguars already poured resources into the wide receiver corps, it shouldn't deter them from investing in it. That said, it's not a given that they'll move on from Calvin Ridley. Similarly, there's a chance they'll keep Zay Jones in 2024. So unless, they move on from either one, trading for Aiyuk will become a realistic option.

And even if the Jaguars let Jones or Ridley walk, they may want to look for their replacement in the round. LSU's receiver Brian Thomas Jr. has been linked to Jacksonville. He, Rome Odunze, and Keon Coleman could be a few names to keep an eye on at No. 17 if the Jaguars need help at the position. While none of them are proven commodities like Aiyuk, they'll be considerably cheaper. This in turn would give the front office plenty of flexibility to address other positions this offseason.

Sauce Gardner is right when he says Brandon Aiyuk is one of the best receivers in the league. However, that may not be enough for the Jacksonville Jaguars to give the San Francisco 49ers a call and inquire about him.

Here are more stories from Black & Teal:

feed