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Superstar Wide Receiver: “I Want to Break the Bank”

Minnesota VIkings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is due for a record-setting contract, and he's not interested in taking a discount.
Justin Jefferson Contract

The Minnesota Vikings enter the offseason with major question marks surrounding their three biggest stars. Quarterback Kirk Cousins and pass rusher Danielle Hunter are set to hit free agency and wide receiver Justin Jefferson is eligible for a new contract. There is a strong case to be made that Jefferson is the best young receiver in the game, as the former first-round pick has done nothing but tear up the competition since entering the league. Despite only playing in 10 games and catching passes from a revolving door of quarterbacks, the LSU product still managed to record 68 receptions for 1,074 yards and five touchdowns on 100 targets.

Justin Jefferson will break the bank with his next contract, as players like him are invaluable in today’s NFL. You need to throw the ball if you want to win, and it’s hard to do that without an elite pass-catcher. Somebody will hand out generational wealth to Jefferson, but will it be the Vikings? The team has $28.8 million in cap space, but they still need to find a starting quarterback and decide what to do with Hunter. Players like those aren’t cheap, and Jefferson is not interested in taking a hometown discount. This team traded away an elite receiver in Stefon Diggs under a different regime – could they do the same if contract talks fall apart?

Justin Jefferson: “I Want to Break The Bank”

First, we need to define what Justin Jefferson could get in his new contract. Tyreek Hill currently is the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL with a $30 million per year contract. Chances are, Jefferson is going to eclipse that by a comfortable margin. The wide receiver is in the same tier as Hill, is a younger player, and doesn’t carry the same off-field risks as Hill. Additionally, the way the NFL works is that elite players always eclipse the previous contracts of their peers. Patrick Mahomes is unanimously the best quarterback in football, but seven quarterbacks have a higher per-year salary.

There is a chance that the Minnesota Vikings won’t pay this much money for a single non-quarterback. Justin Jefferson is a phenomenal player, but one man alone will not singlehandedly win a Super Bowl. If the Vikings try to negotiate a new contract with Justin Jefferson and talks do not progress, they could consider a trade. We’ve seen this happen before, Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, and A.J. Brown have all swapped teams amidst contract battles.

The Chiefs have made it to two Super Bowls without Hill, while Hill helped turn Tua Tagovailoa into a franchise quarterback. Trading for a superstar wide receiver can work out for both teams, and these five organizations should be interested in trading for Justin Jefferson and giving him a new contract.

Best Potential Team Fits

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots need to rebuild their entire offense. Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe both crashed and burned last year, and they don’t have a single proven playmaker outside of sixth-round pick Demario Douglas. Whoever is under center next year will need somebody like Justin Jefferson if they want to succeed, and New England has the money to hand out a suitable contract. With the Vikings needing a quarterback, perhaps the Patriots could give up the third-overall pick and some change in exchange for Jefferson.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl, but they’ll need to do something about the wide receiver position in the offseason. Patrick Mahomes is incredible, but he wouldn’t have made it this far in this postseason run if Kansas City’s defense didn’t play at a historic level and Travis Kelce didn’t find the fountain of youth. The Chiefs cannot count on either thing happening again in 2024, especially since Kelce is not getting any younger and Andy Reid might be retiring. Justin Jefferson and Patrick Mahomes have the potential to be an unstoppable duo, and the Chiefs have the cap space to make the contract work.

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills improved dramatically the last time they traded for a Minnesota Vikings star receiver, so they may as well do it again. Unlike the first two teams on this list, the Bills are going to have a tough time giving Justin Jefferson the contract he deserves. However, with void years and contract restructures, there is always a way to get one more elite player. With Diggs slowing down and no other proven option on the roster, Buffalo should seriously consider trading for Jefferson if they want to compete in a loaded AFC.

Los Angeles Chargers

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are two of the top wide receiver cut candidates in the league, and both players could be on different teams next year. If that happens, somebody is going to have to catch passes from Justin Herbert, and that somebody could be Justin Jefferson on a new contract. Due to the massive cap hits, there is a possibility that the Chargers could lose both receivers, add Jefferson, and walk away with more cap space in 2024. From the Vikings standpoint, they’d probably love to get their hands on the fifth-overall pick that the Chargers currently own.

Carolina Panthers

The future of the Carolina Panthers rests in the hands of Bryce Young, and that’s a little worrisome after his rookie season. The Alabama product had a rough season, but he had absolutely nothing to work with. If the Panthers truly want to give their hand-picked savior a fair shot, they’ll find a way to give Justin Jefferson the contract he deserves. The only problem is that the Panthers do not have a first-round pick, so it’s hard to figure out what they could actually trade to secure Jefferson’s services.

Main Photo: David Reginek – USA Today Sports


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