Florio Wonders if Vikings are Waiting for Justin Jefferson Trade Offer They Won’t Refuse

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson has still not been re-signed to a contract extension. The longer he remains unsigned, the more inviting Justin Jefferson trade rumors will become.

He’s entering the last year of his rookie contract and the Vikings continue to state publicly that they have no interest in trading JJ. But until pen hits the paper, nothing can be officially ruled out.

Mike Florio: Are Minnesota Vikings waiting THAT Justin Jefferson trade offer?

Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk), a noted Vikings fan who uses his abundant number of sources to constantly keep tabs on his favorite team, is starting to believe Minnesota is delaying talks while they wait for a team to slide them a serious trade offer “they won’t refuse”.

Now, with Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson, 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk, Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, and Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb still clamoring for new contracts (all have stayed away from OTAs), the question becomes whether they’ll eventually end up with other teams, too. The Vikings already have Jordan Addison, who’s entering year two of his first-round rookie deal. The 49ers added Ricky Pearsall in the draft. The Bengals took Jermaine Burton. And the Cowboys, well, who knows what they’re doing?

If Aiyuk wants Amon-Ra St. Brown money, maybe that’s why no one traded for him during the draft. And even though the Vikings insist they aren’t considering trading Jefferson, at times it feels like they’re waiting for someone to make them an offer they won’t refuse. With Higgins, all signs point to the Bengals squatting on him for 2024 and then letting him walk. As to Lamb and the Cowboys, again, who knows what they’re doing?

Mike Florio – ProFootballTalk

What’s unclear is what type of offer the Minnesota Vikings would be waiting for. Is Jefferson worth two first-round picks? Three? Four? The last elite wide receivers to be traded were Tyreek Hill and A.J. Brown.

Hill went from Kansas City to Miami for a 1st (No. 29), 2nd (No. 50), two 4ths and a 6th.  Brown was traded from Tennessee to Philadelphia for a 1st (No. 18) and a 4th (No. 101).

Related: Local Insider: No Doubt Sam Darnold Will Be Vikings Starting QB in Week 1

Despite those semi-recent trades, Jefferson easily commands more than that given his age and talent. Plus we already know he’s on track to becoming the highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL.

Could Wide Receiver market be peaking with Justin Jefferson?

At what point are teams getting diminished value for great wide receivers? How big does the gap in salaries need to get before paying a great WR isn’t worth it anymore? Most of these guys wind up being replaceable, especially when the difference in pay is $20 million. These aren’t quarterbacks, after all.

In a recent analysis on wide receiver success rate, Mike Kashuba of Last Word on Sports noted that the success rate of first-round wide receivers from 2011 to 2021 was 46.5%, while the success rate of second-round wide receivers was 37.0%.

These numbers are fairly high and Kashuba notes that once you include the wide receiver classes of 2022 and 2023, the success rate will rise even higher. If you can flip a coin and hit on a receiver, why not try that instead of shelling out all those coins to pay one? Florio goes as far as comparing today’s WR market to yesteryear’s running backs…

The heart of the problem could be that teams are realizing that you don’t need to give receivers big money. That you can draft one who will be, dollar-for-dollar, a better deal.

That’s what has happened over the past 20 years at the running back position. Teams generally stopped paying big money because they could roll the dice in the draft, and then develop the player. While Burks hasn’t exactly filled Brown’s shoes in Nashville, Jefferson was a Day One star after the Vikings swapped him out for Stefon Diggs in 2020. And the Packers are currently regarded as having a great group of young receivers. And, again, the Chiefs have won every Super Bowl played since they traded Hill.

Mike Florio – ProFootballTalk

Overall, it is still more likely than not that Jefferson and the Minnesota Vikings come to an agreement on a contract extension. Given what he will command in guaranteed money, these types of contract negotiations take time and patience.

Related: ESPN Ranks J.J. McCarthy’s Supporting Cast Behind Caleb Williams’ and… Daunte Culpepper’s

In the very small percent chance that the Vikings do not re-sign Jefferson and trade him, General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Head Coach Kevin O’Connell are going to have a lot of angry fans calling for their jobs.

Let’s hope they get the deal done, and new rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy and Jefferson have numerous bountiful years together in purple and gold.

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