Justin Jefferson’s Mega Deal Won’t Really Help Other Wide Receivers Get Paid

Justin Jefferson
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason has been one that wide receivers have become a focal point in. Justin Jefferson stands on a pedestal of his own when trying to count the cash from his new deal with the Minnesota Vikings, but he’s hardly the only player at the position who has gotten paid, and he won’t be the last.

Is Justin Jefferson going to get other wide receivers paid?

After Jefferson agreed to his new mega contract with the Minnesota Vikings, CeeDee Lamb and Ja’Marr Chase are two of the next stars in line to get paid, which they will. But what about other receivers? Well, most could be in for a rude awakening.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote a column recently that examined whether or not Justin Jefferson raised the water level financially for all wide receivers. He bluntly stated, “Sorry, the Jefferson deal isn’t going to help every receiver. If anything, it might hurt some veterans”.

Sorry, the Jefferson deal isn’t going to help every receiver. If anything, it might hurt some veterans who see themselves as something closer to middle-class starters at the position. While Jefferson and other unquestionably elite wideouts are either paid or on their way to getting a deal done, the tiers of wideouts below them have had a brutal past few offseasons.

That hits the nail on the head. Jefferson’s contract is reflective of a superstar so good that most most wide receivers aren’t going to feel its impact. Sure, Jamar Chase and CeeDee Lamb’s ceilings may have gone up, but most wide receivers aren’t those dudes, let alone Justin Jefferson.

Barnwell believes, while Justin may have gotten $35 million per season, lower class WR1s are still going to be making $20ish million per year. WR2s won’t hit that $20M mark, and from there, it only goes down. These are his numbers:

  • JJ Money: $35M/YR
  • Not JJ WR1: $20M/YR
  • WR2: $17.5M/YR
  • WR3: $12-15M/YR

Does Jefferson make wide receiver the new quarterback in the draft?

Everyone needs a franchise quarterback, and riding one on a rookie deal, like the Vikings are attempting with J.J. McCarthy, is an effective route to building a great team, if you hit on the right quarterback.

But, it’s easier to rotate out young wide receivers than it is young quarterbacks, something the league is taking notice of, given how large some of these wide receiver contracts are getting.

Jefferson was drafted 22nd overall by the Vikings, and four wide receivers went before him. For teams that choose to pay for a premium pass catcher, like Minnesota has, then pairing that super expensive WR with an uber talented (but cheap) rookie contract WR (like Jordan Addison) could be the trend.

Related: Justin Jefferson Took Anti-Diva Route to New Contract and it Paid Dividends

Other times, and we’ve already seen this in Kansas City with Tyreek Hill, teams will just refuse to pay wide receivers, period. For some teams, it’ll make more sense to bet on a young future day 1 pick that they that costs pennies on the dollar, vs what it costs to pay someone who might be able to demand Justin Jefferson type money.

[Marvin Harrison Jr is] going to make $35.3 million over the first four years of his rookie deal, or roughly what Jefferson will make over one season of his new deal. If Harrison turns into a league-average receiver, that’ll be a massive bargain.

Bill Barnwell – ESPN

Justin Jefferson
Photo: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It’s going to be tough for franchises to find someone like Jefferson or Lamb available on the open market. Those types of players are going to get extended by their original franchise, and making sure you use an early pick to find that guy may never be more necessary.

Related: Vikings O-Line Dresses Up for Justin Jefferson Day with Short Shorts and Lots of Drip

Being able to add a bargain pass catcher, when knowing that quarterbacks being supported is how you run the league, is something teams have already trended towards doing. Spending on the veteran market is tough, but proper utilization of draft picks can result in a massive boost.

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