Justin Jefferson's Age Makes This the Perfect Time For a Huge Contract

Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks at the big screen during second half of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks at the big screen during second half of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports / David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
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Justin Jefferson has signed a massive extension with the Minnesota Vikings that will make him one of the highest paid players in the NFL. If Jefferson still feels young, that's because he is. Entering his age-25 season he is now under contract with the Vikings until the end of the 2028 season. Jefferson will turn 30 that offseason, which makes this an ideal contract window for Minnesota.

Jefferon's contract lines up perfectly with what should be his peak seasons in the NFL. Generally, wide receivers are at their best in their late twenties, particularly their age-25 through age-28 seasons, which Jefferson will play for the Vikings.

From a team-building standpoint, now is the right time to pay him because they are starting the clock on the JJ McCarthy era. If McCarthy can do what CJ Stroud or Brock Purdy did and be an immediate difference-maker at quarterback the Vikings will be in great shape. Even if he takes some time to find his footing, he's on a four-year rookie deal, which is when teams can spend the most on other positions. The Vikings never could have paid Jefferson and Kirk Cousins and had a chance at building a complete team that could contend.

Other teams had better hope McCarthy is a bust because the idea of Jefferson just now entering his prime with a good quarterback should be horrifying. A healthy and happy Jefferson will give McCarthy an insanely good first option. He led the NFL in catches and receiving yards in 2022 and his numbers didn't slow down at all last season.

Jefferson missed seven games last year and still caught 68 passes for over 1,000 yards. He was 19th in the NFL in receiving yards last season while playing just 10 games. Only Jefferson, Keenan Allen and Jaylen Waddle broke 1,000 yards receiving in less than 15 games. Allen played 13 and Waddle played 14.

It may be hard to believe, but Jefferson at age 25 could be even better.


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Stephen Douglas

STEPHEN DOUGLAS

Stephen Douglas is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. He has been in journalism and media since 2008, and now casts a wide net with coverage across all sports. Stephen spent more than a decade with The Big Lead and has previously written for Uproxx and The Sporting News. He has three children, two degrees and one now unverified Twitter account.