Jefferson is a younger and cheaper option
Thanks to the NFL’s decision to lower the contract amounts for incoming rookies in 2011, drafting a player in the first round no longer results in a financial burden for a team.
After the Vikings selected Justin Jefferson with the 22nd pick in this year’s NFL Draft, the rookie agreed to a deal with the team worth a total of $13.1 million and he’ll be under contract until at least the end of the 2023 season.
This year, Stefon Diggs has a cap hit of around $13.5 million. Some simple math reveals that Diggs’ 2020 cap hit is worth more than Jefferson’s entire rookie deal.
If the former Minnesota receiver winds up finishing with some impressive numbers this season with the Bills, it wouldn’t be very surprising if he ends up asking for a new contract this summer that pays him somewhere closer to what some of the top receivers in the NFL are currently making per year (average right now is around $20 million per season).
In addition to his lower cost, Jefferson is also more than five years younger than Diggs. So the Vikings wound up trading Diggs to the Bills and they replaced him with someone who costs less, is younger, has been able to put up similar numbers, and has the potential to develop into an even better receiver.
Diggs is a very talented player, no one is arguing against that. But when both on the field and off the field factors are considered, Minnesota is the team that appears to be the biggest winner from the trade that sent their former receiver to the Bills.