We Now Know One Reason Why the Justin Jefferson Extension Took So Long to Get Done

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

A little over a week ago, Justin Jefferson officially made a massive decision for the Minnesota Vikings.

The star receiver signed a four-year contract worth $140 million. The deal made Jefferson the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history on an average annual value basis, earning him $35 million per year. It also includes $110 million in guarantees, far exceeding any other WR contract.

The deal had been discussed for over a year before it got done, and we may finally know one of the reasons why the deal took so long to become finalized.

A Potential Reason for Why Justin Jefferson’s Negotiation Took So Long

justin jefferson
Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune provided the insight via the Access Vikings podcast. The insider suggested that the Vikings initially wanted Jefferson to sign to a five-year deal rather than a four-year deal.

Ultimately, though, a five-year deal was a no-go. Goessling had a potential explanation.

“When he’s this young, still, he has the ability to say, I want another swing at this because I’m still gonna be productive and you’re not signing a deal that’s gonna be a projection for, can I still do any of this at age 33? You’re getting me in my prime, so give me the ability to get back out on the market. And Kwesi kind of alluded to that, basically saying, we pushed that about as far as we could go in terms of years, and then we had to kind of go a different direction.”

Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

If that was indeed Jefferson’s thought process, it’s certainly a valid one. The wide receiver will turn just 25 years old at the end of this week, and inevitably, he is going to want at least one more opportunity to earn a large contract during his career.

Getting onto the open market earlier ensures that he will be able to do that, seeing has his new deal will end following his age-30 season.

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, every penny of this contract has been well-earned by the three-time Pro Bowler. Jefferson has surpassed 1000 receiving yards in each of his four seasons, and he was named the Offensive Player of the Year in 2022 after leading the NFL in receptions and receiving yards.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.