Blockbuster Trade Idea Would Send WR Justin Jefferson to Patriots

Justin Jefferson

Getty Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson

The New England Patriots could swing big with a trade down in the draft to land All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson, according to the FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd.

Cowherd proposed the idea when he talked with NBC Sports Boston at Super Bowl radio row on February 5. Michael Felger of NBC Sports Boston said the Patriots absolutely should make this move for the burgeoning Minnesota Vikings superstar receiver.

“I’d do this 1,000%,” Felger said.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler previously reported “people around the league are keeping an eye on” the Vikings to trade up from No. 11 to grab a quarterback early. That’s where Jefferson comes in with the Patriots sitting at pick No. 3 in the draft.

Minnesota has quarterback Kirk Cousins possibly out the door in free agency, and the top three picks in the draft will likely go to quarterbacks. If the Vikings lose Cousins, Jefferson becomes a more plausible trade option with the quarterback spot in doubt for a team that missed the playoffs last season.

In four seasons, Jefferson has amassed three All-Pro honors (two second team), three Pro Bowls, and four 1,000-yard seasons, including his injury-riddled 2023 campaign. Jefferson likely has plenty more ahead as he turns 25 before the 2024 season.

“You got, you know, probably 4-5 years of prime runway with Justin Jefferson, so pay him,” Felger said. “I would do this 10 times out of 10 versus pushing all of my chips to the middle of the table for Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye or some kid. And then, what do you have around him?”

New England could draft a quarterback later or find one in free agency. The Patriots had a weak crew of receivers in 2023, and Jefferson would change everything in the passing game.

Rookie Demario Douglas showed the most promise for the Patriots amid 49 catches for 561 yards. No other receiver had more than 45 catches and 400 yards last season, and the team only had 16 passing touchdowns.

Jefferson has 392 catches for 5,899 yards and 30 touchdowns in 60 games over four seasons. He averages 111 receptions, 1,671 yards, and eight touchdowns in a 17-game season.

Felger: ‘Money Is the Biggest Issue’ in Possible Justin Jefferson Swap

Felger noted “the money is the biggest issue in the whole thing.” Jefferson has a $19.74 million fifth-year option with the Vikings this year, and he could command $29.3 million annually or a 4-year, $117.3 million deal in 2025. per Spotrac.

“I can’t sit here and say, ‘Well, the Pats won’t do that because they won’t pay him.’ I just want to act like they’re a normal football team,” Felger said.

New England has $67.4 million in salary cap space this year. Head coach Jerod Mayo said his team will “burn cash” this offseason, but the Patriots have hosts of issues all over the roster.

The Patriots need help at offensive tackle, quarterback, and numerous other positions. New England’s offense sputtered to 13.9 points and 295.2 yards per game in 2023.

Patriots Could Doubly Bolster the Offense With Kirk Cousins

Ironically if the Patriots land Jefferson, the team could also lure in Cousins if that draft trade happened early enough. Cousins will be one of most-highly sought after free agent quarterbacks.

New England would need to go against the grain of past spending habits to have Cousins though. He will command around $39.3 million annually or a 3-year, $118.14 million deal, per Spotrac.

If it happened, the Patriots would bring in one of the most dangerous quarterback-receiver duos in the NFL.

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