Ranking Potential NFL WR Extensions: Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, CeeDee Lamb, Jaylen Waddle Up Next?

Who will be the next NFL WR to land an extension after DeVonta Smith? Ranking the top candidates, including Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, and CeeDee Lamb.

The Philadelphia Eagles got ahead of the NFL‘s upcoming wide receiver contract boom on Monday, inking former first-round pick DeVonta Smith to a three-year, $75 million extension that will keep him in green for the foreseeable future.

Smith’s new deal sets the template for a bevy of wideouts projected to hit free agency over the next several offseasons. While fifth-year options and franchise tags give teams leverage in negotiations, many pending 2025 free agent WRs will agree to extensions in the coming months.

Let’s run through 10 NFL wide receivers scheduled to reach the open market next offseason and rank them by their likelihood of eventually signing a long-term deal with their respective franchises.

Which Potential NFL WR Extensions Will Get Finalized?

10) Hollywood Brown, Kansas City Chiefs

While Hollywood Brown just became a Chief last month after signing a one-year, $7 million deal, there’s a non-zero chance he could agree to an in-season extension to stick around in Kansas City.

Brown will still only be 27 years old when the 2024 campaign begins, remains one of the league’s premier speed merchants, and posted a 91-1,008-6 line the last time he played in a functioning offense. The Chiefs could lock the former first-round pick up for a few additional years if they like Brown’s compatibility with Patrick Mahomes.

MORE: Hollywood Brown’s Contract Among NFL’s Best One-Year Deals

Meanwhile, K.C. could be bracing to be without fellow WR Rashee Rice, who’s facing eight felony charges after causing a high-speed car accident earlier this month. Rice may yet play this season, but the Chiefs may want to solidify their wide receiver depth chart for the long haul by extending Brown, especially if they don’t select a Round 1 WR in the 2024 NFL Draft.

9) Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Tee Higgins is one of two franchise-tagged players (along with Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr.) who’s yet to receive an extension this offseason, and a new deal is unlikely ever to come. The Bengals have already made Joe Burrow the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback and have a fresh contract for WR Ja’Marr Chase on the horizon.

Sure, the Eagles are paying two high-end wideouts in Smith and A.J. Brown. But Philadelphia and general manager Howie Roseman use void years, prorate money into the future, and wring every last ounce of their available salary cap.

Cincinnati doesn’t do that, preferring to deploy more traditional contract approaches that keep the club’s books in order but don’t allow for overly aggressive spending.

Higgins said this week that he expects to play for the Bengals in 2024. Cincinnati can franchise him again in 2025 for roughly $26.2 million, allowing the team to retain him at that figure or trade him next offseason.

Either way, a long-term extension probably isn’t in the cards for Higgins.

8) Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs committed to Mike Evans before the start of free agency, signing the 30-year-old wide receiver to a two-year, $41 million deal with $29 million guaranteed. Will they give Chris Godwin a similar deal before he hits the market in 2025?

Godwin will be younger next spring than Evans was this year. But he’s also missed more time with injuries than Evans (2024 was Godwin’s first full season since 2018).

How Tampa Bay approaches the upcoming draft could reflect their thoughts on Godwin. If the Bucs use a first- or second-round pick on a receiver, they might not be willing to give him a long-term deal.

7) CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

There’s little doubt that CeeDee Lamb should be among the league’s highest-paid wideouts after earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2023.

Lamb led the league with 135 receptions last season while setting new career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns. He went over 100 yards receiving in eight games, setting a season-high with 13 catches for 227 yards in a critical Week 17 win against the Detroit Lions before managing a 13-98-2 line in the season finale.

Lamb is set to earn $17.991 million on his fifth-year option in 2024, but he should be able to land a deal in the neighborhood of four years and $120 million. He’s holding out of the Cowboys’ voluntary workouts this week, and it remains unclear where Lamb sits on a Dallas contract priority list that also includes Dak Prescott and Micah Parsons.

6) Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins face the same problem as the Eagles and Bengals: How do you pay two high-end wide receivers simultaneously?

Jaylen Waddle still has one year plus a fifth-year option remaining on his contract. Miami can give him a nearly identical extension to the one Philadelphia handed Smith, with a slight markup, given that Waddle was a higher draft pick and has produced slightly more over three NFL seasons.

MORE: The Cost of a Jaylen Waddle Extension Keeps Going Up for Dolphins

If the Dolphins follow the Eagles’ lead, a three-year extension for Waddle won’t kick in until 2026. Tyreek Hill will be entering his age-32 season and may no longer be on Miami’s roster, creating cap space for the start of Waddle’s new deal.

5) Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

Brandon Aiyuk’s agent was forced to shoot down trade request rumors over the weekend, which 49ers general manager John Lynch already did. In fact, Lynch has indicated San Francisco is more interested in extending Aiyuk than moving him to another team.

The 49ers won’t be able to pay everyone, which is why we’ve suggested that trading Deebo Samuel and extending Aiyuk might be the better option for Lynch and Co. The 28-year-old Samuel is two years and two months older than Aiyuk, and his physical style of play inherently makes him more of an injury risk.

4) Nico Collins, Houston Texans

Nico Collins finished second to only Tyreek Hill with 3.11 yards per route run in 2023, dominating as the Texans’ WR1 while catching passes from Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud.

Collins failed to top 500 yards in either of his first two NFL seasons, but that was hardly his fault. In addition to dealing with injury issues, he also worked with one of the league’s worst quarterback situations.

Still, Collins’ one season of production means his demands won’t be as high as those of others on this list. Draft stock sticks with NFL players throughout their careers, which could hinder a former third-rounder like Collins. Add it all up, and the Texans could land a bargain by extending him before he repeats with another outstanding season in 2024.

3) Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Justin Jefferson is not participating in the first day of the Vikings’ voluntary offseason program as his representatives work on a new contract with Minnesota.

It’s difficult to overstate just how much Jefferson’s eventual extension will affect the other wide receivers on this list. He’s the NFL’s best wide receiver and could become the highest-paid non-quarterback, surpassing 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa ($34 million).

Jefferson’s next contract may place a lid on the WR market, at least for the time being, similar to how Aaron Donald’s massive extension with the Los Angeles Rams capped DT earnings for a while.

2) Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

Although the Bengals had not started negotiating an extension with Ja’Marr Chase as of the end of March, there’s almost no chance the former No. 5 pick leaves Cincinnati. The Bengals have their hands full with Higgins, which could push a new Chase deal until next offseason.

But Cincinnati has never been afraid to pay its elite stars, making Burrow, QB Carson Palmer, and WR A.J. Green the highest-paid players at their respective positions at the time of signing. If Chase posts another 1,200-yard season in 2024, he might be the guy to top Jefferson’s eventual deal.

1) Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

As a fourth-round choice in the 2021 NFL Draft, Amon-Ra St. Brown didn’t have the same draft pedigree as other pass catchers on this list. But he’s been dynamic since joining the Lions, ranking fifth in receptions, sixth in targets, and eighth in receiving yards among WRs over the past three seasons.

ESPN reported last month that Detroit is working on an extension for St. Brown, which should include an average annual value between $26 and $28 million.

KEEP READING: Where ASRB, Chase, Waddle Land in 2021 NFL Re-Draft

The Lions still have over $25 million in 2024 cap space and rank second in projected 2025 cap space ($122 million). St. Brown is a mid-round success story and the driving force of a Detroit offense that guided the club to its first playoff victory in more than three decades last season. There’s no reason the Lions won’t get this deal done.

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