NFL Trade Rumors: Why is Justin Jefferson likely to cost the Vikings $30 million+ annually?

The 2023 season was quite troublesome for Justin Jefferson. The Minnesota Vikings wide receiver missed several full games after sustaining a hamstring injury. He was later limited to play by a chest injury. However, the receiver was confident in his caliber after being eligible for a contract extension.

Jefferson wanted to break the bank with a blockbuster deal. Seemingly, his bold take is going to be true as the Vikings are gearing up to secure a lucrative contract for their receiver.

Vikings reportedly want to make new Justin Jefferson contract

Dan Graziano of ESPN reported that Justin Jefferson’s new deal could potentially exceed $30 million annually, a figure that would place him among the highest-paid wide receivers in NFL history. He is currently set to cost the Vikings $19.7 million against the cap in the final year of his existing deal in 2024.

Recent reports suggest that the wide receiver was seeking clarity on the Vikings’ quarterback situation before committing to a contract extension. With Kirk Cousins potentially becoming a free agent, Jefferson’s desire to continue playing alongside him is evident. The Vikings also have their sights on addressing defensive end Danielle Hunter’s contract.

The Vikings have around $34.7 million in cap space, as per Over the Cap. However, the team may need to resort to contract restructuring, roster cuts, or trades to accommodate the trio of Cousins, Jefferson, and Hunter within their budget.

No wide receiver in NFL history has surpassed the $30 million annual mark. Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins currently holds the highest receiver salary at $30 million per year. A.J. Brown of the Philadelphia Eagles boasts the most fully guaranteed money at $56.47 million. Justin Jefferson’s anticipated contract is expected to surpass these figures.

Jefferson recorded a career-low 1,074 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2023. But the Vikings remain confident in his abilities, considering his outstanding track record. The WR recorded over 3,000 receiving yards in his first two seasons and led the NFL in catches as well as yards in 2022.

Vikings are not interested in trading WR Justin Jefferson

Several sources reported that the Vikings might be open to dealing Justin Jefferson. However, Vikings’ general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah swiftly put an end to these rumors during the NFL Combine.

Adofo-Mensah firmly stated that trading the WR has never crossed his mind, per CBS Sports. He addressed misconceptions surrounding contract negotiations and affirmed the team’s commitment to his future with the Vikings.

Justin Jefferson
via CBS Sports

Head coach Kevin O’Connell echoed this sentiment by mentioning their unequivocal intent to retain the receiver and build around his exceptional talent.

“I can tell you we have no intent to trade Justin Jefferson. We have had zero discussions, dialogue about that either internally, externally, on this planet or another planet. I feel very strongly that Justin is best in his position in football. Any time you’re trying to reset the receiver market… We know who he is, we know what Justin’s earned through his first four years in this league… You know how hard it is. …It was never gonna be something that was just be easy to get done, but the intent was there. The intent is still stronger than ever to get something done with Justin.”

The speculation even extended to potential suitors like the New York Jets, but it appears the Vikings are resolute in retaining Jefferson. With the 2022 offensive player of the year firmly entrenched as a cornerstone of their offense, the Vikings are unwilling to entertain the notion of parting ways with their explosive receiver.

Maliha

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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.

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