It’s Justin Jefferson’s Turn to Reset the Non-QB Market

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Jefferson’s salary ranks 81st among NFL wide receivers, at $2.4 million. He’s nestled between former first-round pick Jalen Reagor, who just joined his third team in three years, and veteran Nelson Agholor, who’s playing for his fourth team in five years.

That shouldn’t be the case, for one of the NFL’s best players, much longer. Jefferson’s peers ranked him as the NFL’s second-best player in the entire league, behind Kansas City quarterback Pat Mahomes. Whenever Jefferson gets a new deal — it will reportedly occur sooner rather than later — he will reset the market.

Miami’s Tyreek Hill is the NFL’s highest-paid receiver with a $30 million average after signing a four-year, $120 million deal with $72 million guaranteed. Davante Adams signed a five-year, $140 million contract with $62 million guaranteed. That’s an average of $28 million a year.

The 24-year-old Jefferson should easily surpass Hill’s contract. After all, his numbers compare favorably to those of Hill and Adams, and he’s younger. 

Comparing Justin Jefferson to other elite receivers

In the three years he’s been in the league, Justin Jefferson has 324 receptions, compared to Adams’ 338 and Hill’s 317. Adams also leads the trio with 43 touchdowns, 12 more than Hill and 18 more than Jefferson.

Jefferson (4,825) has more yards than Adams (4,443) and Hill (4,225), and a higher YPC average. JJ averages 14.9 yards per catch, while Hill is at 13.3 and Adams is at 13.1. 

Jefferson’s 4,825 career receiving yards are 662 more than Randy Moss, who held the record for yardage in a player’s first three NFL seasons, until his fellow Viking broke it. This year, JJ will attempt to become the first receiver ever, with three consecutive 1,500-yard seasons.

“I don’t want to be the Vikings GM without that guy on our team, so it’s a high priority,” Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah told ESPN. “We’ve got to make sure we do in the order that we can do it in, obviously, given all of our other decisions we have to make.”

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told Sports Illustrated he wants to get a deal done with the man who brought “The Griddy” touchdown celebration to Minnesota.

“Everyone’s working together on the contract,” Wilf said. “But certainly, we’re aware of the magnitude of this one and, in general, certainly involved (as ownership). Justin Jefferson, we want him to stay as a Minnesota Viking.”

Rich payday ahead for Justin Jefferson

This is the first offseason in which Jefferson has been eligible for an extension. With two years left on his rookie contract, the Vikings could wait until the offseason to sign him.

The longer they wait, the more the price goes up. He already owns single-season franchise records for catches and yards. Reminder (again): Randy Moss played most of his best seasons in Minnesota.

Justin Jefferson NFL Minnesota Vikings contract market non-qb
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, JJ caught 128 passes for 1,809 yards to become the youngest player to lead the league in yards and catches since Hall of Fame receiver Don Hutson did it in 1936.

He also set the record for most yards in a game with 223 in a loss to Detroit last December. Soon, he’ll own the record for the highest-paid Minnesota Viking.

“It’s been a dream since I was seven years old (to get a life-changing contract),” He told Sports Illustrated. “I’m definitely not letting that contract stuff get in the way of my team. We have to be focused on getting to the Super Bowl.”

Jean-Jacques Taylor is an NFL Insider for Sportsnaut and the author of the upcoming book “Coach Prime“, with Deion Sanders. Follow him on Twitter.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: