An Explosive New Theory on Justin Jefferson’s Contract Extension

Justin Jefferson
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While Minnesota Vikings fans anxiously await the long-awaited “Kirk Cousins verdict,” Justin Jefferson’s upcoming contract extension is also on the front burner.

An Explosive New Theory on Justin Jefferson’s Contract Extension

Cousins is scheduled to hit free agency in three weeks, and barring an agreement with the Vikings’ front office, he’ll hit the open market for the first time since 2018. Teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to inquire about his free-agent asking price if Cousins becomes available.

An Explosive New
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On Jefferson, the mystery is smaller. Most believe Jefferson is a lock to remain in purple for the long haul, as the Vikings leaders have said — down the line — that an extension is a no-brainer. It’s just a matter of timing and the details.

Well, the fine print is a concern for Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. He joined KFAN’s Paul Allen this week and claimed the Vikings are “playing with fire” and that the organization is paranoid about guaranteeing contracts for longer than one year.

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“They are playing with fire here on multiple fronts between Justin Jefferson, whose patience is eventually going to run out. I can confidently say that J.J. is very patient, but his patience will have its limits, and the problem continues to be, not the dollars, but the structure,” Florio told Allen.

Jefferson missed seven games in 2023 because of a hamstring injury, but the absence didn’t little to dampen the enthusiasm from fans — or anyone, really — of a long-term extension when the offseason rolled around.

Jefferson Report Conflicts
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Florio continued, “The Vikings are one of the few teams that will not fully guarantee beyond the first year of the contract for anyone other than Kirk Cousins. If you’re not going to make that same exception for Justin Jefferson, you are going to have a problem with Justin Jefferson eventually,”

The Vikings guaranteed $42.5 million of tight end T.J. Hockenson’s extension last year — or 64% — so it is unclear why they wouldn’t [at least] do the same for Jefferson. For example, if Jefferson fetched $32 million per season, the deal would look like this in the Hockenson format: five years | $160 million | $102 million guaranteed.

“It’s not the dollars, it’s the structure. Fans need to hold ownership accountable. These are policies set by the Wilfs. They don’t want to guarantee in-full money beyond the first year on that deal for anything other than the quarterback position. You need to make the exception,” Florio concluded.

Cousins Critic Does
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What appears to have happened with Florio’s statements is a mix-and-match of his opinion while presenting those theories as fact. Disregarding Hockenson’s 64% contractual guarantee — the major extension of the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah era — there’s a general sense of worry about Jefferson because a deal hasn’t been finalized.

Fellow 1st-Rounders from the 2020 NFL Draft, along with Jefferson, include Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb and Tampa Bay’s Tristan Wirfs. Those men, among others, are also awaiting extensions this offseason. It is also unclear if those organizations are skittish about funding deals beyond one year with guaranteed dollars, which is what was presented on KFAN regarding Jefferson’s situation.

Jefferson said at the Super Bowl’s radio row a week and a half ago, “I’m definitely grateful for what Minnesota has done for me. I definitely wouldn’t be in this situation if they didn’t pick me, to be the fifth receiver taken. With everything that has happened and everything I have gave to the organization, of course, I would want to stay.”

The league’s 2022 Offensive Player of the Year will turn 25 in June.

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).

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