5 wide receivers Detroit Lions could trade for rather than draft one highly

The Detroit Lions could add a wide receiver in the upcoming draft, but how about a trade for a veteran instead?
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Wide receiver is somewhere on the spectrum of needs for the Detroit Lions heading toward the 2024 draft. Where it is on that spectrum depends on who you ask, and it's somewhat dependent on a couple things within the current wide receiver room.

Ideally, a rookie wide receiver who's brought in with notable draft capital (say one of the Lions' three current picks in the top-75 overall) would be able to make a noteworthy contribution immediately for the reigning NFC runner-ups. The curve for a wide receiver to make a notable contribution is not what it used to be. Fantasy football managers are certainly familiar with the "third-year wide receiver breakout candidate" idea of the past. It occasionally still applies, and Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams is a prime example for 2024.

But what if the Lions made a move for a more proven commodity a wide receiver? The ship has all but sailed on any notable free agent addition at wide receiver of course, as the draft nears. So we're down to trade possibilities to add a veteran of note.

The likelihood of the Lions making a trade for a veteran wide receiver before, during or right after the draft feels incredibly low, and "incredibly low" might not be a strong enough (or harsh enough?) phrase.

But the NFL is a "never say never" business, and along that line here are five veteran wide receivers the Lions could swing a trade for heading into, during, or in the days after the draft.

5 veteran wide receivers the Detroit Lions could trade for instead of drafting one early

5. Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

It's a wild idea to suggest the reigning NFC Super Bowl representative would trade Aiyuk to the best threat to unseat them. But trade rumors persist around Aiyuk, as he seeks a new contract aligned with his value, has unfollowed the 49ers on social media and most recently posted on Instagram promising "fireworks" on the day of the first round of the draft.

The 49ers have remained steadfast, via general manager John Lynch's own comments or reports they are probably the source of, that Aiyuk will not be traded and they will get him signed long-term.

It's also fair to assume the Lions would be very hesitant to give up what it would take to get Aiyuk, then give him the kind of contract he is seeking (and has earned). Amon-Ra St. Brown is lined up to become one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the league with a deal that is coming this offseason. Two big wide receiver contracts would be borderline, and maybe more than borderline, untenable.

The 49ers ultimately control if Aiyuk is traded or where he goes, and all he can do is withhold services if he wants to be traded and is not.

On an angle he would land on a new team without a subsequent multi-year commitment immediately ($14.24 million salary and cap hit for this year), as unlikely as it is, the Lions can make sense as a possible suitor for Aiyuk.