Commanders urged to consider daring college teammate reunion raid

Stranger things have happened...
Jayden Daniels and Brandon Aiyuk
Jayden Daniels and Brandon Aiyuk / Rob Schumacher/The Republic, Arizona

The Washington Commanders were urged to do whatever possible to acquire Brandon Aiyuk and reunite him with former college teammate Jayden Daniels.

Although fan attention is seemingly focused on the 2024 NFL Draft, teams are still examining every potential avenue to improve their roster. Another fine example of this arrived when the Buffalo Bills traded star wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans - a move that sent shockwaves through the league.

Adam Peters has been frantically forming his plans to take the Washington Commanders forward. He's spent money wisely and is aiming to build through the draft. That said, the front-office leader's aggressive nature means nothing could be dismissed when it comes to moves that could help speed up their rebuilding process.

With the Diggs bombshell officially confirmed, wide receiver trade options are diminishing. Tee Higgins remains a potential candidate given the Cincinnati Bengals have shown no willingness to extend the player following his franchise tag. Another seemingly at a career crossroads is Brandon Aiyuk, who wants an extension from the San Francisco 49ers that hasn't arrived as yet.

Commanders urged to consider pairing Jayden Daniels with Brandon Aiyuk

Peters is no stranger to Aiyuk from their time together in San Francisco. Whether this results in an inquiry being made is up for debate, but Bryan Manning from USA Today Sports highlighted another potential connection that brings a significant amount of intrigue attached.

The writer highlighted the college link between Aiyuk and Jayden Daniels, who played together at Arizona State before the wideout went to the NFL and the gifted signal-caller transferred to LSU. Could this previously acquired chemistry result in the Commanders picking the quarterback at No. 2 and trading for the dynamic pass-catcher? Manning didn't completely rule out the possibility, although there are some obvious hurdles to overcome.

"There is one more connection. Aiyuk played at Arizona State in 2018 and 2019. His quarterback for his final season with the Sun Devils was Jayden Daniels. Daniels, along with North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, are the top contenders to land in Washington with the second overall pick. Daniels and Aiyuk are reportedly close. A trade still seems unlikely, as Peters must find a left tackle early in the 2024 NFL draft. It would probably only take one of Washington’s two second-rounders, in addition to another pick, to land Aiyuk. For as much as Peters has talked about using the draft to build the roster, it seems unlikely he’d part with too much draft capital. However, in this instance, he’d be trading for a player he knows and likes. Anytime you can add an impact player, you do whatever is possible to land that player. "

Bryan Manning, USA Today Sports

This is an interesting solution to solving two problems. Whether it's something Peters contemplates as part of his long-term strategy is another matter.

Daniels might be the pick at No. 2. Adam Schefter of ESPN became the latest to suggest this was a strong possibility - an opinion that holds weight given his connections around the league. The most important thing after this is providing the quarterback with adequate protection and weapons capable of creating separation consistently.

Aiyuk is one of the league's most imposing young wideouts, but there is only enough money to go around with the Niners. Brock Purdy's upcoming extension is featuring heavily in their plans this offseason. From the outside looking in, the former first-round pick does appear to be the odd man out. Therefore, it wouldn't be a surprise to see John Lynch attempt to extract maximum compensation for a valuable commodity.

The Commanders need to pay Aiyuk in addition to sacrificing a second-round pick and potentially more in this scenario. It would leave a substantial amount tied up in the wide receiver position when one considers the financial commitment made to Terry McLaurin. However, it's certainly manageable looking at the ever-increasing cap and the money available to Peters in the coming years.

Going down the draft route seems more likely. This is an outstanding group of wideouts emerging from the college ranks. The Bills trading Diggs is another strong indicator of how it's being perceived around the NFL. Aiyuk already boasts proven production, but he's expensive and would result in Peters parting ways with draft capital he so highly values.

Still, it's a mouthwatering proposition whether it becomes reality or not.