Justin Jefferson contract extension makes Packers look even better

Justin Jefferson
Justin Jefferson / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

If you were hoping Justin Jefferson would soon leave the NFC North, that dream is now over.

The Minnesota Vikings made Jefferson the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league by handing him a four-year, $140 million extension with a massive $110 million guaranteed. Jefferson will earn $35 million per year.

While that is a significant contract to offer a wide receiver, Jefferson has more than earned it. In just four seasons with the Vikings, Jefferson has made 392 receptions for 5,899 yards and 30 touchdowns, good for three All-Pro and three Pro Bowl selections.

The Vikings had to pay up to retain the best receiver in football, but the Green Bay Packers have taken the opposite approach.

Justin Jefferson is earning more than the entire Packers wide receiver corps

There's no doubting who the Vikings' top receiving target is. Jefferson missed seven games last season, but in 2022, an incredible 28.7 percent of the Vikings' passes went in his direction. In Green Bay, the "WR1" depends on the week. Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed led the way in targets last season, accounting for 17.1 and 16.8 percent of the Packers' total, respectively.

The Packers use a wide receiver-by-committee approach, and despite having a talented, young group, their total salary at the position is the lowest in the league.

That's quite incredible. Jefferson is making almost three times more annually than the entire Packers wide receiver corps. Green Bay is in a unique position with so much young talent. Christian Watson and Doubs are the most experienced receivers on the team, and they are only entering year three.

The Packers will eventually have to pay their pass catchers—potentially as soon as next year—but right now, they have the least expensive but one of the most talented receiver rooms in football.

And Brian Gutekunst deserves credit. He took the risk of trading Davante Adams. He didn't re-sign Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Allen Lazard, who had established starting roles in Matt LaFleur's offense. He believed the Packers could rebuild their receiving corps via the draft. After selecting Watson, Doubs, Jayden Reed, and Dontayvion Wicks, it is job done.

It's up to Jeff Hafley and the Packers' defense to find an answer for Jefferson, but on offense, they have an incredibly talented receiving corps with almost unlimited upside.

And they have achieved it without paying $35 million per year.

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