All Those Justin Jefferson Theories Were Flat Wrong

Has Been Kind
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

All of the Justin Jefferson trade smoke was all for nil. Time spent contemplating trade packages and the what-if of his departure? Time wasted.

All Those Justin Jefferson Theories Were Flat Wrong

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Monday morning, “A record deal: the Vikings and three-time Pro-Bowl WR Justin Jefferson reached an agreement on a four-year, $140 million contract extension that includes $110 million guaranteed and makes him not only the highest-paid WR in NFL history, but the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history, sources tell ESPN. Jefferson’s deal includes $88.743 million due at signing, the highest non-QB guarantee at signing in NFL history. And it resets the WR market. WME Football negotiated and confirmed the deal.”

Justin Jefferson
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson will remain in the Twin Cities for the next five seasons, a timeframe that conveniently aligns with the expiration of quarterback J.J. McCarthy’s rookie contract. The future is solidified in Minnesota, at least per a plan, involving McCarthy to Jefferson on Sundays.

Leading up to the extension, a process that spanned a year and a half, oodles of folks suggested Jefferson could be traded. The theory never made sense, especially after Kirk Cousins departed via free agency in March. Jefferson would always be in the Vikings’ plans after the club opted for a rookie quarterback over Cousins’ habitually expensive price tag.

vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

In April, NBC Sports show host Craig Carton created Jefferson trade stir. On The Carton Show, he said about a would-be Jefferson trade, “Money’s better than championships all day, every day. That being said, you gotta trade him because if he’s turned down a contract that would make him the first- or second-highest-paid wide receiver in the history of the NFL, he’s telling you, ‘I’m not re-signing here!’ So you better get value for him while you can.”

Carton was wrong. Outlandishly wrong.

In January, Pioneer Press published a Jefferson trade hypothesis advanced by Charley Walters. “There could be a better chance of Jefferson, 24, getting traded than anybody’s saying. That’s because it doesn’t make sense to pay the NFL’s best receiver the money he wants (expected to be at least $150 million over five years) on a team that’s not expected to be seriously competitive for several more years.”

About two weeks ago, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio joined KFAN and authored a theory suggesting Minnesota was playing hardball with Jefferson’s extension. “If you want him, you pay him. If you don’t, you trade him. You don’t do this half-measure; we’re gonna play games with him. And my intel is, from Jefferson’s perspective, there may be a perception that they’re playing games with him, and that doesn’t end well. F around and find out is the mantra that they need to keep in mind if they are indeed effing around with JJ,” Florio opined.

justin jefferson
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings were not “effing around with JJ,” as the deal finalized soon after Florio’s rumpus.

On May 20th, a social media aggregator, MLFootball, posted this video, insinuating Jefferson was meeting with the New York Jets about a trade.

This so-called exclusive couldn’t have been more wrong, with Jefferson becoming the NFL’s richest non-quarterback in history, courtesy of the Vikings, two weeks later.

On May 29th, Bleacher Report posted a full article about Jefferson trade packages, stuffed to the gills with six ideas. It’s moot now, but it can be read here.

justin jefferson
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports.

Every step of the way, for the last 18 months, Minnesota’s owners, general manager, head coach, and even Jefferson personally insisted a contract extension would eventually be completed. But many — the outfits listed above — chose to ignore the no-brainer element of Jefferson staying with the purple team, running with zany theories just to incite the masses.

And the entities listed above were just a sample of the trade ruckus, not an all-inclusive ledger.

All Jefferson trade smoke was false. Folks bloviated for effect.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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