Projecting what an extension might look like |

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Let’s hope the Minnesota Vikings will find a way to pay Justin Jefferson what he is worth.

It would probably be a good idea for the Minnesota Vikings to pay Justin Jefferson handsomely on his next contract.

Jefferson is entering his fourth year out of LSU with the Vikings. Since arriving in the Twin Cities, all he has done is play like a top receiver in the NFL. Minnesota could not have done a better job of immediately replacing Stefon Diggs with Jefferson. Of course, the Vikings have a bad history of not paying top-tier wide receiver talent what he is worth to keep him around. So there is always that!

Regardless of who ends up paying Jefferson, here is about what he will make on his next contract.

Justin Jefferson contract rumors: What he should be making on the open market

Because Jefferson is still playing on his rookie deal, he will only make $3.28 million in 2023, which is good enough for … 62nd in the league, behind none other than Vikings teammate Jalen Reagor, who went a pick ahead of him to the Philadelphia Eagles. It is absolutely ridiculous, I know, but that is all the more reason why the Vikings need to accept that they have to pay him top-dollar.

The big question they have to answer is are they willing to do what they wouldn’t for Diggs, Percy Harvin and Randy Moss. It will take a market-resetting offer of sorts to pay Jefferson what he is worth. The top of the market right now is occupied by Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins, and he makes about $30 million in average annual value. That is the baseline for what Jefferson will get.

I think it is going to take a five-year deal worth at least $155 million for Jefferson’s services. The amount of that cash being fully guaranteed remains to be seen. With the NFL salary cap only expected to go up for growth and inflationary reasons, I would not be surprised if Jefferson gets as much as $32.5 million in AAV. Unfortunately, that might be too much for the Vikings to retain him.

Given that he is entering his fourth NFL season and the Vikings have the ability to tag him at least once in 2024, Jefferson’s value will only go up if he plays up to his standard in 2023. Simply put, why would the Vikings want to short him and see him play worse to save a few million dollars? It is not logical, but Minnesota needs to get its salary cap situation figured out before it is too late.

Ultimately, the Vikings brass needs to be proactive in this to avoid being priced out in retaining one of the best picks they have ever made in franchise history. Paying more than $30 million for a wide receiver sounds insane, but Jefferson is a top-three player at his position group. While teams are paying for future production and not what a guy has done previously, Jefferson is a different case.

Just pay Jefferson what he is worth and figure the rest of it out later. Otherwise, good luck, Vikings.

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