Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Predicted to Smash WR Contract Record by $30 Million

Justin Jefferson, Vikings

Getty Wide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings recently signed tight end T.J. Hockenson to a historic extension and may soon set the market again at a second position with a deal for wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report predicted on Saturday, April 6, that Jefferson won’t just sign the biggest contract for a wide receiver in NFL history, but that he will pass the previous mark by $30 million in total value by signing a five-year deal worth $170 million over the summer.

From a team-building perspective, the Vikings are in a good position to give Jefferson a market-altering contract. They parted ways with Kirk Cousins, which is going to open up cap space over the next few seasons.

The biggest question isn’t money. The Vikings are in a position to offer that. However, the quarterback situation is one worth monitoring. With the team moving on from Cousins, it might have to wait to get a commitment from Jefferson until he sees who will be throwing him the ball.

Justin Jefferson Has Good Chance of Setting Every Contract Record for NFL Wide Receivers With Next Deal

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyWide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported in early March that Jefferson is a near-lock to become the highest-paid wideout in league history.

“Jefferson is likely to set the top of the receiver market whenever he signs, and his deal is certain to pay him more than $30 million per year,” Graziano wrote. “The question is how much more.”

Davante Adams signed a five-year agreement with the Las Vegas Raiders in March 2022 worth a total of $140 million ($28 million annually), which remains the largest figure ever connected to a deal for a receiver. Tyreek Hill inked a contract with the Miami Dolphins just days later worth $120 million over four seasons, which represents the highest annual average salary any wideout has ever received from an NFL franchise.

At five years and $170 million, which Ballentine projected for Jefferson, the Vikings former All-Pro would have a deal worth $30 million more than Adams’ overall and worth $4 million more annually ($34 million per year) than Hill’s contract in South Florida.

Another, and perhaps more important, way that Jefferson can make history is by securing the most total guaranteed money of any receiver ever. Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams landed $75 million guaranteed on his three-year, $80.1 million deal in June 2022.

Should Jefferson actually sign the contract Ballentine predicted, it is a near certainty it will come with more than $75 million in total guarantees based on the size of the total figure alone. NFL players of all positions are seeking more guaranteed money as part of their contracts in the modern negotiating landscape, and Cousins — Jefferson’s old teammate — has been among the most successful athletes in this regard over the last decade.

Vikings’ Lack of Franchise QB Affords Justin Jefferson Even More Leverage in Contract Negotiations

Washington Commanders, Minnesota Vikings, Justin Jefferson

GettyWide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings.

As a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro in just four seasons, Jefferson probably doesn’t need any more leverage to extract a historic deal from Minnesota. But Cousins’ departure to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency and the Vikings’ position in the draft later this month have combined to afford him some, nonetheless.

Minnesota holds the rights to pick Nos. 11 and 23, which the team can package with a future first-round selection to try and move up the board into the top five and select a franchise quarterback. The New England Patriots at No. 3, Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 and Los Angeles Chargers at No. 5 all are potential trade suitors with whom the Vikings can try and strike an agreement.

It is unclear at the moment who Minnesota’s top choice(s) would be, though J.J. McCarthy of Michigan and Drake Maye of North Carolina are the most likely to remain available in the pick Nos. 3-5 range based on the mock drafts of several ESPN insiders.

Who Jefferson prefers is also unknown to the public, though it strains credulity to suggest that the Vikings coaching staff and front office won’t at least consult with Jefferson on the decision-making process before draft night arrives on April 26.

Read More