Should the Jacksonville Jaguars trade for 49ers star WR Brandon Aiyuk?

• The Jaguars may need help at WR in the offseason. Would Brandon Aiyuk be a realistic option?

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

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a talented trio of wide receivers in Zay Jones, Christian Kirk, and Calvin Ridley. However, they may need to move on from either Jones or Ridley in the offseason. If they do, wide receiver will then become a need. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes they could address it by trading for Second-Team All-Pro nod Brandon Aiyuk.

Knox put together a list of potential trade partners for Aiyuk and included the Jags, noting that he could give Trevor Lawrence a new weapon in case Ridley leaves in free agency.

"Jacksonville would be a great landing spot for Aiyuk as long as Lawrence can return to his 2022 form. Aiyuk would instantly become Lawrence's new top option, but the Jags have enough talented pass-catchers—including Kirk, Jones, Evan Engram and running back Travis Etienne—to prevent Aiyuk from consistently seeing double coverage."

Aiyuk, a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He was the San Francisco 49ers' top target last year in an offense that included Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, and George Kittle. The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option in his rookie deal, so he's under contract through 2024. That said, he's been the subject of contract talks because San Francisco is $12 million in the red and he's vying for a contract extension.

Even though Aiyuk has made it clear he wants to remain in the Bay Area (if it's the right move), there's no guarantee he'll be back in 2024. If the 49ers decide that the best course of action is to move on from him, they could place him on the trade block and ask for at least a first-round pick in return.

On top of that, the club that acquires the former Arizona State Sun Devil would need to give him a new contract. When you take into account that drafting a receiver comes with a certain degree of uncertainty, a few clubs may be willing to roll the dice on Aiyuk. The Jaguars, though, shouldn't be one of them.

Here's why the Jaguars shouldn't trade for Brandon Aiyuk

Calvin Ridley hauled in 76 receptions for 1,016 yards with eight receptions in his first season donning the Black & Teal. He's now to hit the open market and one thing that could stop the Jaguars from re-signing him Ridley is that they agreed to give the Atlanta Falcons their 2024 second-round pick if they extend him. However, it will only be a third if they let him walk in free agency.

That said, the Jaguars could keep the second-round and retain Ridley if they use the franchise tag on him or let him become a free agent and then re-sign him. The only trouble with the first scenario is that they would need to give Josh Allen a contract extension first and then tag Ridley. Similarly, they would run the risk of getting outbid in free agency if the star receiver is available. But even when you factor in the second-round pick, the Jags are better off keeping Ridley than pursuing Aiyuk.

After all, the Jaguars are already slated to give Atlanta a draft pick. They would have to surrender another one if they traded for Aiyuk. Moreover, Ridley is as talented as Aiyuk, and he's already spent a season in Jacksonville. When you take into account that the Jaguars would have to give an extension to either one, they might be better off going with the devil they know.

The bottom line is that Brandon Aiyuk is a talented wideout, one that could help plenty of teams in need at the position. The Jaguars aren't one of them though.

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