Why Justin Jefferson Should Become the NFL’s First ‘Real’ $30 Million WR

Justin Jefferson doesn't seem to mind when his extension gets finalized. But when it does, he should become the NFL's first genuine $30 million WR.

Justin Jefferson is undoubtedly the NFL‘s best receiver and deserves to be paid as such. But what would a fair contract for Jefferson look like? Recent receiver deals have inflated the market, but Jefferson’s next contract should reach the $30 million-per-year threshold.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Jefferson suggested that while he’d like to get an extension completed with the Minnesota Vikings before the team’s first game on Sunday, negotiations could continue into the regular season.

Justin Jefferson Discusses Potential Vikings Extension

“I’m not really too sure, 100% on that,” Jefferson said when asked if contract talks will end in Week 1.

“I’m just here to play football like always and leave all of that other stuff up to them. Of course, I would want a contract to be done. But at the end of the day, it’s all up to them and what the ownership wants to do with that.”

Could the contact discussions become a distraction during the season?

“I mean, it’s a part of the game,” Jefferson said. “You can’t really say you don’t think about it. You can’t really say you do think about it. There’s a part of me that thinks about it and a part of me that don’t.”

Jefferson has two seasons remaining on his rookie contract, including his fifth-year option in 2024. He’s scheduled to collect roughly $22.1 million over the next two years.

But a massive payday is on the horizon. Jefferson is the reigning Offensive Player of the Year and has posted more receiving yards (4,825) than received in NFL history through his first three seasons — a fact he’s well aware of.

“I’m in a different situation,” Jefferson said when asked if he’s sought contractual advice from other NFL players. “I’ve done something that no one has ever done in the history of the game. So my situation is a little bit different than everyone else’s.”

What Jefferson’s Extension Should Look Like

Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams received new contracts when they were traded to the Dolphins and Raiders, respectively, last offseason. Hill and Adams are the two highest-paid receivers in the NFL by annual average value (AAV), but both deals are artificially inflated.

Hill is nominally a $30 million-per-year receiver, but his base salary in 2026 is an untenable $43.9 million. Miami simply inserted that ridiculously high salary to ensure Hill averaged $30 million. His actual contract is much closer to $75 million over three years than $120 million over four.

The same goes for Adams, who has $35+ million salaries and $44+ million cap hits in 2025 and 2026. Adams will never actually play on those figures — he’ll either be extended, cut, or have his deal restructured.

As such, his extension wasn’t really for five years and $140 million — it’s more like three years and $67.5 million.

Jefferson has the leverage to become the NFL’s first genuine $30 million receiver. As PFF’s Brad Spielberger noted, Jefferson should be able to do so while exceeding the three-year cash flows attained by Cooper Kupp ($80.1 million) and Stefon Diggs ($78 million).

The tea leaves suggest a Jefferson extension could be finalized before Sunday’s action. The Athletic’s Dianna Russini wrote this week that Jefferson’s deal is “looking to be a contract that will be announced (and celebrated) very soon.”

MORE: Highest-Paid WRs in the NFL in 2023

On this week’s Access Vikings podcast, Star Tribune reporter Ben Goessling said, “Every indication we have is that (Jefferson’s extension) looks on track to be done by this weekend.”

Whether a deal gets hammered out this weekend, during the season, or in the spring, a legitimate $30 million per year is well within Jefferson’s sights.

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