Sports

Sources – Justin Jefferson, Vikings agree to 4-year, $140M deal

The Minnesota Vikings and star wide receiver Justin Jefferson have agreed to a four-year, $140 million contract extension, including $110 million guaranteed, sources tell ESPN. The deal makes him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

The deal, brokered by WME Football, includes $88.743 million due at signing. The Vikings announced Monday morning that Jefferson had agreed to an extension that would extend through the 2028 season, but did not disclose financial terms.

“The time has finally come. The deal I’ve been waiting for since I was little,” Jefferson said in a video posted to Instagram. “Being doubted throughout my career. Not being highly recruited. Not being the first receiver selected. This whole journey hasn’t been easy for me. …Receiving the gift of playing football at the highest level, it’s a blessing. It’s an honor.

Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement that Jefferson has “earned this contract and we are thrilled that he will remain a Minnesota Viking for a very long time.”

“From the moment I arrived in Minnesota, Justin has consistently proven himself to be one of the best players in the NFL on and off the field and we are excited to have him as a cornerstone of our team for a long time to come,” Vikings said. . » said Managing Director Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. “He is the living embodiment of our culture with his joyful dedication to the process and our goals. We couldn’t be more excited for Justin and his family.”

Jefferson also thanked his parents, brothers, agent and Vikings front office staff, coaches and fans in the Instagram video.

“You set the tone. You set the mood. You set the energy,” Jefferson said in the video. “And I’m really excited to put the energy into five more years. … It’s the beginning, but we’re not done yet. Hold on.”

The day before the 2023 season began, Jefferson declined a contract offer from the Vikings that would have paid him more than $28 million per year. The three-time Pro Bowler instead bet on himself, and the gamble paid off, with Jefferson’s four-year extension averaging $35 million per season. That average annual value is $1 million more than San Francisco 49ers passer Nick Bosa’s previous non-quarterback record.

Several teams this offseason have inquired about Jefferson, according to league sources. But the Vikings have made it clear to both of them that they have no intention of trading Jefferson, who is off to a historic four-year start in the NFL.

Adofo-Mensah said at the NFL scouting meeting in February that a trade for Jefferson never crossed his mind — even though it would help him trade for a quarterback in the draft.

“We think he’s the best receiver in the league and he should be paid as such,” Adofo-Mensah said at the time. “We believe he is one of the best non-quarterbacks in the league and believe he should be compensated as such.”

Since being selected by the Vikings with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 draft, Jefferson has 392 receptions for 5,899 yards and 30 touchdowns.

The 2022 Offensive Player of the Year, Jefferson averaged 98.3 receiving yards per game – the most in NFL history for any career – and his 6.5 catches per game average is the second highest of all receivers over his first four seasons.

“Justin is an exceptionally talented player and an incredible person who I am honored to coach and have as team captain,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said in a statement. “His positive energy and love for the game shines through every day as he strives to be the best at his craft. As coaches, we will do our part to help him maximize his abilities. I am grateful to the Wilfs, Kwesi, (Vikings Executive VP of Football Operations) Rob Brzezinski and our team for ensuring that one of the brightest stars in professional sports continues his career as a Minnesota Viking.

Jefferson, who turns 25 later this month, will now lead the Vikings into their next offensive generation after replacing quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​with free agent Sam Darnold and first-round pick JJ McCarthy this offseason.

Jefferson has repeatedly endorsed Cousins’ return over the past year, but never said it would be a determining factor if he re-signed with the Vikings. He has not publicly commented on Cousins’ departure or the decision to acquire Darnold and McCarthy. But McCarthy said Jefferson — known to many on the team as “JJ” — texted him shortly after the draft.

Jefferson set an NFL record for most receiving yards in the first three seasons of a career (4,825), then eclipsed 1,000 yards in 2023 despite missing seven games (and part of two others) due to injuries. His 1,074 yards in 2023 were the most ever by an NFL player who played in 10 or fewer games in a season.

Jefferson was the fifth receiver selected in the 2020 draft and a timely replacement for Stefon Diggs, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills a month earlier. Some teams would have believed Jefferson would be limited to a slot role, but the Vikings viewed him as an all-position receiver when they took him 22nd overall.

In an internal video that quickly went viral, then-general manager Rick Spielman was seen laughing when the Philadelphia Eagles took wide receiver Jalen Reagor at No. 21, clearing the way for the Vikings to select Jefferson.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.



News Source : www.espn.com
Gn sports

Back to top button