Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Seeking To Become NFL’s Highest-Paid Non-QB?

Justin Jefferson is one of several high-profile players currently absent from OTAs in the NFL. Missing out on voluntary workouts, the 2023 Offensive Player of the Year is in talks with the Vikings on a monster extension.

Jefferson is a strong candidate to become the league’s top earner at the receiver position. Given his age (24) and the historic start to his career, however, that may not be the bar he is aiming for. Outkick’s Armando Salguero reports Jefferson is “expecting” to surpass Nick Bosa as the league’s highest-paid non-quarterback.

Bosa’s 49ers deal, signed last offseason, carries an AAV of $34MM. That figure comfortably moved him to the top of the pecking order amongst defenders (although Chris Jones is now not far behind) and it surpassed the top of the receiver market at the time. Tyreek Hill‘s $30MM-per-season Dolphins contract has been eclipsed recently by new deals for Amon-Ra St. Brown (Lions) and A.J. Brown (Eagles).

The latter pact is worth an average of $32MM per season, and it therefore represents the new target for Jefferson and other extension-eligible wideouts. Salguero notes Jefferson has already turned down one offer which would have allowed him to top the receiver market, but that was before Brown’s deal was signed. Talks with the Vikings nearly produced an agreement last offseason, but instead the LSU alum remains on track for free agency next year as things stand. Jefferson is set to earn $19.74MM in 2024 on his fifth-year option.

A multi-year pact will check in at a much larger rate, although particular figures regarding AAV are not known at this point in negotiations. Salguero adds the three-time Pro Bowler was previously seeking $40MM annually, but that may no longer be the case. That figure matches the AAV of the contracts quarterbacks Daniel Jones, Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott are presently attached to.

With respect to guaranteed compensation, Salguero reports Jefferson is aiming for roughly $100MM on his next deal. Only eight contracts in the league are at that mark in terms of total guarantees; all of them, unsurprisingly, belong to quarterbacks. It will be interesting to see if Jefferson manages to reach (or at least approach) his asking price in terms of total and guaranteed money.

Minnesota has a cost-effective quarterback room with Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy positioned to replace Kirk Cousins in the short and long term. The team’s skill position group features one expensive pact (tight end T.J. Hockenson), but wideout Jordan Addison will be attached to his rookie contract for at least the next three years. An expensive new deal for left tackle Christian Darrisaw will likely be on the Vikings’ books down the road, but it will pale in comparison to the one Jefferson will have if talks can produce a market-topping agreement.

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