NFL insider reveals likely Justin Jefferson trade cost, odds of Minnesota Vikings’ deal

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has popped up in NFL trade rumors in advance of the 2024 NFL Draft. Linked as a potential trade candidate in mock drafts in order for Minnesota to acquire the quarterback of its choosing, NFL teams reportedly recognize the actual cost of landing Jefferson would be much higher.

Earlier this offseason, former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman suggested Minnesota could package Jefferson with the 11th and 23rd overall picks to acquire the fourth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. In addition, ESPN NFL analyst Bill Barnwell proposed a deal in an all-trades NFL mock draft sending Jefferson and the 23rd overall pick to the New England Patriots for the third overall selection.

  • Justin Jefferson stats (ESPN): 392 receptions, 5,899 receiving yards, 30 touchdowns, 264 first downs, 15 yards per reception in 60 games

Related: Elite QB prospect reportedly wants to play for the Minnesota Vikings

A primary motivation in both proposed trades is Jefferson’s contract situation. Entering the final year of his rookie deal and poised to become a free agent in 2025, the All-Pro wideout will eventually become one of the highest-paid NFL players. Not only will it be a record-breaking contract, but it could cost Minnesota upwards of $34 million per season. However, NFL teams know that even if Jefferson was available, the cost of acquiring him is much higher than the proposed scenarios and it makes a trade even unlikelier to happen.

On the latest Yahoo Sports’ “Inside Coverage” podcast, senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson shared a conversation he had with a team official regarding the potential trade market and acquisition cost of Jefferson.

“One thing he said to me is, ‘I’ve never seen in league history, a situation where you could meet the demand that they’re going to have for Justin Jefferson, which is going to be multiple first rounders.’ It’s not going to be a Tyreek Hill situation, some of these other trades that have gone on. We’re talking about starting baseline, two 1s, plus some additional compensation on top of that and then you turn around and you give him the richest non-quarterback contract in the history of the NFL.”

Charles Robinson on conversation with a team official on the potentrial trade demand, acquisition cost for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson

Related: 2024 NFL Draft quarterback rankings

Will the Vikings trade Justin Jefferson?

As Robinson and fellow senior NFL reporter Jori Epstein discussed on the “Inside Coverage” podcast, very few teams could afford to acquire Jefferson and then sign him to a long-term deal. Clubs recognize that his next contract will reset the market for all non-quarterbacks and paired with the draft capital it will cost to acquire him, the chances of it happening are very low.

Also Read: 2024 NFL Draft prospect rankings

“He was like, ‘First off, there’s not even a lot of organizations that could do that from a draft capital standpoint and also the financial capital standpoint, when you look at where salary caps are projecting out…Look at the depth, as well at the wide receiver class.’..It’s so rich to deal for a player of Jefferson’s talent at this point, but also price point and asset trade-off. It’s going to make it very, very difficult for a move like that to happen.”

Yahoo Sports Charles Robinson on NFL team official’s stand on why a Justin Jefferson trade is unlikely

Related: Justin Jefferson shows off monster arm

Very few teams could afford to pay Jefferson $34-plus million annually, especially if they are an established contender with a high-paid quarterback and defensive player on the roster. Instead, clubs that could afford it are the ones with a starting quarterback on a rookie-scale contract, which is the exact situation the Vikings are set to be in moving forward.

Minnesota’s front office has made it clear this offseason that it has zero interest in trading Jefferson or even entertaining negotiations with other clubs for him. Even if the Vikings were open to the possibility, the asking price of any team would start at multiple first-round picks. For those reasons, Jefferson will likely just be extended by the Vikings and be the highest-paid player on their offense as they take advantage of a rookie-scale quarterback contract.

Related: Why the Minnesota Vikings should draft J.J. McCarthy

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