Justin Jefferson Extension Apparently Waiting on One Domino

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After free agency in March and the NFL draft in April, all eyes for the Minnesota Vikings have turned to Justin Jefferson and his upcoming contract extension.

Justin Jefferson Extension Apparently Waiting on One Domino

The process of nailing down the phenom playmaker has spanned about 17 months, so fans eagerly await the deal’s finality. And one item could be a snag for Jefferson’s upcoming mammoth deal — CeeDee Lamb, a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

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It appears Lamb and Jefferson are waiting for the other to sign — they were drafted in the same class four years ago — enabling one to eclipse the other. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said last week on SportsCenter, “CeeDee Lamb appears to be waiting on Justin Jefferson, really the whole league is waiting on him to get done. He could be the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league when it’s all said and done for Minnesota.”

This is how it often works with player contracts, as the market constantly resets. In theory, if Lamb signs down in Dallas for $33 million per season, for example, well, Jefferson can grab $34 million and claim the status of the league’s highest-paid wideout.

“So, if he’s making $34 million a year, and you’re Lamb, you don’t want to jump out yet you want to wait for him to do that and then circle back with Dallas,” Fowler added.

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A standoff indeed, each man waiting for the other makes sense. Meanwhile, the Vikings said goodbye to Kirk Cousins this offseason, creating a new era when a quarterback does not hog the salary cap. For the next five years, assuming rookie passer J.J. McCarthy morphs into a productive player, Jefferson can be the hog.

Some fans remain anxietal about Jefferson’s future, mainly because the process has taken so long. But last week, Adam Schefter said on SportsCenter, “When this deal gets done, and I think it will eventually get done, it is expected to make Justin Jefferson the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history.”

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“So it will be a landmark type of a deal, and I think some of the other WRs are waiting to see where the Justin Jefferson deal comes in before they do a deal because they know the size and scope of this deal that the two sides have been working on throughout the course of the offseason,” Schefter added.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell noted two weeks ago, “I know everything’s gonna get worked out there. Justin knows the love and admiration that I have for him. He knows he’s such a big part of what we do around here. That’s on the field and off the field. Bringing such a great energy to our building every single day.”

justin jefferson
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Ergo, the question in the Twin Cities shouldn’t be, “Will Jefferson extend his stay with the Vikings?” It should be, “Who signs first? Jefferson or Lamb?”

Jefferson will turn 25 next month.

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.