If there’s someone out there capable of bettering the $15 million deal Odell Beckham Jr. received this offseason from the Baltimore Ravens, it’s another star who thrives in purple: Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings. And there’s new chatter that the All-Pro wideout could be in for a league-record deal.
What Could Justin Jefferson’s New Deal Look Like?
Per NFL insider for ESPN Jeremy Fowler, Jefferson could become the highest-paid non-quarterback in league history with his next deal.
“Jefferson is considered by many around the league as the very best receiver in the NFL,” Fowler said. “So, we are talking, you know … Aaron Donald money, $31 million per year? We shall see.”
That statement alone could mean the following for Jefferson:
- If his annual money matches what Donald makes, Jefferson could earn more than Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams — both earn around $30 million in their annual salary.
- Hill earns $30 million tops from his four-year, $120 million deal he signed with Miami. Adams earns under $30 million at $28 million annually with the Las Vegas Raiders.
- Jefferson’s potential next deal would also place him ahead of Super Bowl 56 MVP Cooper Kupp, who is in the ballpark of $26.7 million per year.
- Matching or surpassing Donald would put Jefferson closer to $32 million per year, surpassing Donald as the highest-paid non-quarterback. Donald signed his blockbuster deal in 2022 during the summer following his Super Bowl win.
Jefferson has cemented his reasons for deserving a lucrative deal. Since his arrival to the league in 2020, he’s yet to miss a Pro Bowl.
He caught the league by storm his rookie year with his impressive 1,400-yard campaign that included an average of 15.9 yards per catch. He’s since improved his season reception totals each year from 108 to 128 receptions last season. Plus, he elevated his yardage from 1,616 in 2021 to 1,809 in 2022.
Is There a Dilemma With Paying That Much for Jefferson?
Handing Jefferson a record-setting deal could put the Vikings in a bind. Minnesota may not be able to afford to keep its key fixtures together.
Already, the Vikes lost defensive pillar Eric Kendricks to the Los Angeles Chargers as the inside linebacker became too expensive to keep. Now, a new Jefferson deal could provide leverage in forcing a future change at quarterback.
There was chatter about Minnesota moving on from veteran Kirk Cousins, who has also earned his own Pro Bowl nods the past two seasons while helping turn Jefferson into his own All-Pro talent.
Jefferson resetting the salary cap market might limit Minnesota’s financial flexibility in retaining Cousins. He’s set to become a free agent in 2024. That’s also when Jefferson’s rookie contract expires.
Minnesota would have to be in a position where they make QB a high priority for the 2024 NFL Draft, make a splashy move to keep Jefferson happy, or simply pivot to 2022 fifth-rounder Jaren Hall post-Cousins.
But for now, the focus is on Jefferson and if he’ll “Griddy” his way into the NFL record books financially.