Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting for a Justin Jefferson Contract Extension

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

The Kirk Cousins’ drama and the 2024 NFL draft have come and gone this offseason, but there is still one major looming situation that is outstanding from the Minnesota Vikings. The extension of star wide receiver, Justin Jefferson.

In April 2023, the Vikings exercised Justin Jefferson’s fifth-year option, worth $19.743 million. This puts him under contract in Minnesota through the 2024-25 season. That means we’re entering the final year of his rookie deal. As of now, the phenom out of LSU is set to become a free agent after in about 10 months (and counting).

Rumors began to swirl right before the NFL draft that an extension was verbally agreed too. That they were waiting until after the draft to announce it. Well, the draft has come and gone and still no Jefferson extension.

NFL Insider “would preach patience” on the Justin Jefferson contract extension

Dan Graziano, NFL Insider for ESPN, recently appeared on an episode of “NFL Live” and had quite the nugget on when to expect the contract extension for Jefferson.

“There’s a number of reasons to think [an extension agreement] might take until closer to the season. The Vikings have a policy with their signing bonuses where July 31st is kind of a key date and they might want to wait until after that.

Dan Graziano on when to expect a Justin Jefferson contract extension (ESPN)

Essentially, the Minnesota Vikings have a policy regarding their signing bonuses where July 31, 2024 is a key date, and the team may consider to wait until after that date has passed. It’s not exactly clear what this policy is, but it sounds like it gives the Vikings more financial flexibility if they wait until after that date and how the contract is structured.

Justin Jefferson’s agent also represents Joe Burrow and Nick Bosa

Not only could the Vikings decide to wait until after July 31st to execute the contract extension for Jefferson, but Jefferson’s agent, Brian Ayrault, tends to get massive deals done at the last second.

“And think about the agent, Brian Ayrault, who represents Justin Jefferson. Last year, he represented Joe Burrow and Nick Bosa. Burrow, now the highest-paid player in the league, Bosa, now the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league, and those deals got done pretty close to the start of the [2023] regular season.

So I would preach patience on the Justin Jefferson deal.”

Dan Graziano – NFL Insider for ESPN

Ayrault also represents Joe Burrow and Nick Bosa. Both signed massive deals last offseason just before the start of the 2023 regular season. Could he want to play the same card for Jefferson to maximize the most amount of money with what will be a record setting contract for the wide receiver market and potentially the highest paid non-quarterback surpassing Bosa?

Could Justin Jefferson hold out of training camp?

Getting the contract extension completed shortly after July 31st doesn’t seem like a huge issue, given there’s plenty of time before week 1 of the 2024 NFL season, but this could have an impact on his status for training camp.

Related: NFL Agents Weigh in on What New Justin Jefferson Contract will Cost Vikings

Training camp dates haven’t been officially announced, but last year camp started the weekend of July 29th. If Jefferson doesn’t have a new deal in place will he “hold-out” of camp or will he do what Danielle Hunter did last offseason with a “hold-in” type of arrangement?

Overall, the wide receiver market continues to balloon into astronomical numbers. The longer General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah waits to execute Jefferson’s extension, the cost only goes up. Not only that, the drama amongst the team and fans continues to build.

Overall, time will tell when the deal gets done but it sounds like no contract extension is imminent, at least according to Graziano.

Related: NFL Draft Analyst Believes J.J. McCarthy Can (and Will) Start for Vikings in Week 1

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