Is Justin Jefferson Worth $35M/Yr?

Ogee Ogilthorpe

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With the rumors recently that the Vikings may or may not have attempted to move up in the draft to take Malik Nabers at WR and then trade J. Jefferson for a pile of picks, it's worth looking at just what the Vikings should do with Jefferson.

Is it a good idea to tie up so much money to Jefferson, or to any WR? His contract could approach $35M/yr.

Ordinarily, I would say absolutely not. I would take a Nabers or Odunze at $7-$10/yr (or whatever their rookie contract will be) over Jefferson at $35M. You don't build your team around a WR. It's worth noting that the Vikings went 5-2 without Jefferson last year, with what most would consider an average roster at best, and two of those wins were with Josh Dobbs at the helm.

The ONLY caveat to this I would say is, the Vikings are in a unique situation where they not only have the luxury of NOT committing major salary to the QB position through what will likely be the entire length of a Jefferson deal, AND they have major cap space in the next year or two to accommodate a big cap hit.

I think they obviously sign him, and because of the above, it's not the WORST decision they could make, but in most cases I would absolutely not commit that kind of money to a WR. No way, not ever.
 


Probably not

but since they've drafted like schit for years.....then Yes
 

Packers got #23 and #53 for Davante Adams.

Chiefs got #29 and #50 (along with some later round picks) for Tyreek Hill.

So the market appears set as to about what you’d get back. Is a WR worth the money he’ll be making? Not a chance. The likelihood of him contributing to the team commensurate with what you’re paying him is very low. But you can’t form a team in a vacuum. You have to either draft, trade, or sign FA’s. Their drafting has been poor. If you trade, you’re giving up other assets ( likely picks, and you’re still going to have to pay the player you traded for anyway). There usually aren’t that many high-end FA’s in any given year, and you’re competing with a bunch of other teams to sign them.

So is he worth it? Not a chance. But I’m still signing him, especially with the knowledge you have a cheap QB for a number of years. Plus, he’s still tradable after you sign him if you want to move on at some point (unless he really regresseses, which seems unlikely).
 
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With the rumors recently that the Vikings may or may not have attempted to move up in the draft to take Malik Nabers at WR and then trade J. Jefferson for a pile of picks, it's worth looking at just what the Vikings should do with Jefferson.

Is it a good idea to tie up so much money to Jefferson, or to any WR? His contract could approach $35M/yr.

Ordinarily, I would say absolutely not. I would take a Nabers or Odunze at $7-$10/yr (or whatever their rookie contract will be) over Jefferson at $35M. You don't build your team around a WR. It's worth noting that the Vikings went 5-2 without Jefferson last year, with what most would consider an average roster at best, and two of those wins were with Josh Dobbs at the helm.

The ONLY caveat to this I would say is, the Vikings are in a unique situation where they not only have the luxury of NOT committing major salary to the QB position through what will likely be the entire length of a Jefferson deal, AND they have major cap space in the next year or two to accommodate a big cap hit.

I think they obviously sign him, and because of the above, it's not the WORST decision they could make, but in most cases I would absolutely not commit that kind of money to a WR. No way, not ever.

No to the general question, but Yes specifically to the Vikes for the pro reasons you listed; additionally, I posted last year how much more effective the running game is with him on the lineup as it changes the way defenses attack us - this was based on analytics and not my musings
 


If you have a QB that can stretch the field, thus unlocking the running game, I would say "yes" unless the WR has a concerning history of injuries.

As Ogee pointed out, it's a perfect time to justify it with a QB on a Rookie contract for the next four (4) seasons.
 

If you have a QB that can stretch the field, thus unlocking the running game, I would say "yes" unless the WR has a concerning history of injuries.

As Ogee pointed out, it's a perfect time to justify it with a QB on a Rookie contract for the next four (4) seasons.
From what I’ve read the $ won’t be the issue, but rather the length.
 


I'd be surprised if it's not for five (5) years with 80% guaranteed and a lot of money up front considering our great Cap situation for the 2025-26 season.
I’m sure his camp only wants 4, but like you said guarantee a huge chunk and front-load it and he’ll sign.

I’m glad the FO didn’t play coy and came right out to say we’re going to sign him and not trade him when they did.
 
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I've been reading some articles in The Athletic about which positions have seen the greatest growth in salaries.

here's an item about WR salaries in relation to the salary cap.

“Ten years ago, the NFL’s top-paid wide receivers made about $16 million annually, equaling about 12 percent of the $133 million cap. Today, A.J. Brown leads the way at $32 million annually on a cap of $255 million. That’s still just 12.5 percent of the cap.”

more numbers - since 2014, the NFL salary cap has gone up by 92%.

based on the average salary per year for the highest-paid player at each position, this is how different positions have gone up during that same time frame (since 2014). (remember, cap went up 92%)

(salaries increased at a higher rate than the cap)
DT - 151.9%
QB - 150%
OL - 143.5%
Edge - 104.8%
LB - 100%
-------------
(salaries increased at a lower rate than the cap
Safety - 75%
TE - 71%
WR - 70.2%
CB - 31.3%
RB - 18.2%
-----------
 

The Dolphins just paid Waddell, and they are on the brink of signing Tua to a huge deal, and of course Tyreek has a huge contract as well.

They will then likely have over $100M dedicated to three players on offense, and I would bet money they won't make the playoffs.

Makes no sense, WR's don't move the needle that much, although you can make a case that Tyreek is one WR that changes the game. And the Dolphins still haven't done shit since they traded for him. In the meantime, the Chiefs let Hill leave, and they've won back to back SBs.
 

He just got 4 and $140million. $110millioj is guaranteed. Not gonna lie I wish they would have gotten a 5th year in there. At least it’s done and now they can focus on winning.
 

He just got 4 and $140million. $110millioj is guaranteed. Not gonna lie I wish they would have gotten a 5th year in there. At least it’s done and now they can focus on winning.
In 4 years, you are hoping having to pay McCarthy a massive extension. That's when you can unload Jefferson if need be.

Perfect everything here.
 




The Dolphins just paid Waddell, and they are on the brink of signing Tua to a huge deal, and of course Tyreek has a huge contract as well.

They will then likely have over $100M dedicated to three players on offense, and I would bet money they won't make the playoffs.

Makes no sense, WR's don't move the needle that much, although you can make a case that Tyreek is one WR that changes the game. And the Dolphins still haven't done shit since they traded for him. In the meantime, the Chiefs let Hill leave, and they've won back to back SBs.
I'm not saying you are right or wrong, as I have no idea, but is there any data or studies that have been done showing this?

FWIW I saw a tweet from someone (can't remember who) saying something along the lines of WR's are becoming so abundant that their market value will start declining pretty soon. Again I don't have any evidence of this to back it up, but it seems like a plausible theory.

In general I agree with your OP that paying this much for JJ is less than ideal, but the Vikings are in a position where it's not a bad move considering the circumstances.
 

Crazy to think Jefferson was a recruit that would have been considered a bottom-of-the-class guy at Minnesota. He may have played on the greatest college offense of all time at a football powerhouse but he mostly got a LSU offer because his brother was their QB once. Northwestern was his only other P5 offer according to 247.

Congrats to him on securing life changing, generational money. Excited to see him in purple for the long term.
 

The Dolphins just paid Waddell, and they are on the brink of signing Tua to a huge deal, and of course Tyreek has a huge contract as well.

They will then likely have over $100M dedicated to three players on offense, and I would bet money they won't make the playoffs.

Makes no sense, WR's don't move the needle that much, although you can make a case that Tyreek is one WR that changes the game. And the Dolphins still haven't done shit since they traded for him. In the meantime, the Chiefs let Hill leave, and they've won back to back SBs.
FWIW, I don’t think KC is a fair comp, as they arguably have the AllTime 🐐 at both QB & TE; if they aren’t the undisputed best when they both hang them up, they’re both on their positions Mount Rushmore’s.

JJ is also considered to be the top player at his position by many fans/paid analysts, will likely accelerate JJ’s QB development and according to this article from Schfetter regarding the signing, has accomplished this -

Averaged 98.3 per game, the most in NFL history for any career span

His average of 6.5 catches is the second highest for any WR in their first four years.

There are exceptions to every rule and he’s the very definition of it

 
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It's not is JJ worth $35 million, but is he worth $3 million more than AJ Brown.

The answer is YES!!!
 

FWIW, I don’t think KC is a fair comp, as they arguably have the AllTime 🐐 at both QB & TE; if they aren’t the undisputed best when they both hang them up, they’re both on their positions Mount Rushmore’s.

JJ is also considered to be the top player at his position by many fans/paid analysts, will likely accelerate JJ’s QB development and according to this article from Schfetter regarding the signing, has accomplished this -

Averaged 98.3 per game, the most in NFL history for any career span

His average of 6.5 catches is the second highest for any WR in their first four years.

There are exceptions to every rule and he’s the very definition of it


And yet, the Vikings have finished with a winning record in just one of JJ's four seasons in MN, and they haven't won a playoff game.

Again, I'm not saying it was the wrong move, I'm just saying that WR's just aren't how you build your team. In this unique situation, no money spent on QB's and a shitload of cap space, I can live with them signing JJ to this deal, today.
 

I would have paid him too. Unless he really regresses he is tradable and in 3 years he'll probably be like the 10th highest paid WR...
 

Packers got #23 and #53 for Davante Adams.

Chiefs got #29 and #50 (along with some later round picks) for Tyreek Hill.

So the market appears set as to about what you’d get back. Is a WR worth the money he’ll be making? Not a chance. The likelihood of him contributing to the team commensurate with what you’re paying him is very low. But you can’t form a team in a vacuum. You have to either draft, trade, or sign FA’s. Their drafting has been poor. If you trade, you’re giving up other assets ( likely picks, and you’re still going to have to pay the player you traded for anyway). There usually aren’t that many high-end FA’s in any given year, and you’re competing with a bunch of other teams to sign them.

So is he worth it? Not a chance. But I’m still signing him, especially with the knowledge you have a cheap QB for a number of years. Plus, he’s still tradable after you sign him if you want to move on at some point (unless he really regresseses, which seems unlikely).
Justin Jefferson is 25. Davante Adams was 29 when he was traded. Hill was 28. Jefferson was also better than them despite not playing with a top 5 QB of all time (unlike them).

I don’t think it would have been the same market.

My opinion on if he’s worth it, probably. An incredible WR can cover up a lot of warts (see Hill in Miami). But I understand the argument both ways.
 




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