Why Justin Jefferson will soon be extraordinarily rich

Justin Jefferson

It happens.

The Minnesota Vikings have three years left on Justin Jefferson’s rookie contract, and that offers some comfort. In theory, as is currently the case, the Vikings can surround Jefferson for three more seasons “at little cost.” Think of a quarterback on a rookie contract – but with a star-studded wide receiver.

November 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) carries the ball past Green Bay Packers safety Adrian Amos (31) during the first quarter at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn – USA TODAY Sports

But after the 2024 season, the financial team’s favorable honeymoon ends. If Jefferson were eligible for an extension today, he would command around $27-30 million per season. End of story, not debatable.

Why? That’s good. These are the receiving yard totals over the past two seasons — when Jefferson entered the NFL.

  1. Justin Jefferson (MIN) = 3,016
  2. Davante Adams (GB) = 2,927
  3. Cooper Kupp (LAR) = 2,921
  4. Stefon Diggs (BUF) = 2,760
  5. Travis Kelce (KC) = 2,541

By yardage, Jefferson produced the best NFL career start of all time. Plain and simple. Ja’Marr Chase could surpass Jefferson in 2022 for a player’s first two seasons, but you get the point. Jefferson is not the DeVante Parker type who is a good addition to an offense. He’s a game-changer, possessing abilities to rack up yards and touchdowns like most men can’t.

A 22-year-old wide receiver has led the NFL in receiving yards the past two seasons. Let it flow. Such heroism will absolutely command and demand the best WR dollars on the open market. It’s just a matter of when.

For players under rookie contract, like Jefferson, who clearly show that they are special, contract extension talks usually begin and take place after year 3. As a result, the Vikings would discuss with Jefferson his new portfolio seeing in the spring of 2023 – or one year from now. Then that money would “come into play” in the 2025 season.

November 28, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) tackles the San Francisco 49ers past linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (51) during the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the current state of play for wide receivers, by average annual salary:

  • Tyreek Hill = $30 million
  • Davante Adams = $28M
  • DeAndre Hopkins = $27.25M
  • Stefan Diggs = $26M
  • DJ Moore = $20.62M
  • Keenan Allen = $20.25M
  • Mike Williams = $20M
  • Amari Cooper = $20M
  • Chris Godwin = $20M
  • Michael Thomas = $19.25M
  • Christian Kirk = $18M
  • Kenny Golladay = $18M

Jefferson, early in discussions about extending the deadline, will smash those numbers to bits. That’s what the men who lead the NFL in receiving yards in sophomore campaigns do.

Additionally, the numbers above will swell with the peak of the salary cap. Remember when your friends ransacked Kirk Cousins ​​for $28 million guaranteed per season? That’s a steal of a deal now for a passer representing more than 30 touchdowns a year. Along those same lines, the deal Stefon Diggs signed on Wednesday ($26 million) will seem puny.

Next steps for this situation? The Vikings better reach the playoffs in 2022 or 2023. Otherwise, why on earth would Jefferson want to stay in Minnesota after several non-playoff campaigns? Another team will happily cut the man a check for $35 million a year.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube channel, VikesNow. He host a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, airing every Wednesday with Raun Saw and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, “The Sopranos” and The Doors (the band).

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