Some Justin Jefferson Contract News Will Drop in the Next 2 Weeks

Justin Jefferson
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Two things will be more significant for the Vikings future than anything else in the next few years. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will be in charge of finding the next franchise quarterback in the near future, especially because the team didn’t extend Kirk Cousins’ contract, and he enters the final year of his deal. A draft pick at the QB position should happen in 2023 or 2024. Finding the right one is close to the top of the priority list.

Another thing, maybe even above the future quarterback choice, is the contract of wideout Justin Jefferson. The receiver is arguably the best in the business, and having him on the team for many more years is critical for the organization.

Some Justin Jefferson Contract News Will Drop in the Next 2 Weeks

Justin Jefferson Contract News Will Drop in the Next 2 Weeks
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Before the Vikings get a deal done with the team’s star, they will most likely make the procedural move of exercising his fifth-year option. Teams with former first-round players on their original rookie deals have the option to extend the contract from a four-year deal to a fifth-year contract by simply picking up the option after the third season in the league. The time for Jefferson’s option is now. Organizations have until May 1 to pick up the option.

The amount of money a player can make while playing under that option is defined by the latest CBA, or Collective Bargaining Agreement, and it takes into account a player’s success in previous years.

Jefferson went to multiple Pro Bowls in the first three seasons of his career, so he would net the highest-level option and can make $19,743,000 in 2024. For comparison, Jalen Reagor, who was drafted ahead of Jefferson in 2020, could theoretically also see his option exercised. He would make the lowest of the four possible salary groups. If it were picked up, his salary would be $12,987,000. Of course, the Vikings will not pick up Reagor’s option.

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After the Vikings secure the rights for Jefferson’s play for 2023 and 2024, the team can still take all the necessary time to agree on a contract extension that kicks in after the 2024 season. Jefferson’s salary beyond 2024 will be absurd, but he has earned every Dollar after his Offensive Player of the Year campaign, which also included some MVP votes.

No player ever had more receiving yards in the first three seasons of his career. He easily broke the record previously held by Randy Moss. In addition, Jefferson set franchise records for receiving yards and receptions in a single season while leading the league in both categories in 2022. The former LSU star is the youngest player to ever do that in the same season, breaking a record that stood for 86 years.

Jefferson will most likely reset the receiver market. Tyreek Hill is the best-paid wideout in the league. Just last year, he signed a deal with the Dolphins that pays him $30 million a season. He is followed by Raiders receiver and former Vikings rival Davante Adams, who is earning $28 million a season.

The two WRs are 29 and 30 years old, and Jefferson is 23. He will have the top salary of all receivers soon. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is making an average of $31,666,667 per season. He is the best-paid non-quarterback ever, and Jefferson might want to top that.

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The young receiver is special because he’s racking up all those numbers while constantly facing double teams. Cornerbacks get safety help over the top on every play. Even then, quarterback Kirk Cousins often looks in his direction. The two have formed a special connection over the years, and the Vikings should keep the duo together for as long as possible.

However, the front office will probably split them up after the 2023 season, as spending top-market dollars for a passer and a receiver is rare. The salary cap leaves only so much room for other players to get paid, and team-building is extremely tough with two big numbers.

A QB on a rookie deal is the solution for many. Adofo-Mensah might pick one next week in his second draft in charge.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt