Lions fans already have the worst Justin Jefferson take after his extension

Detroit Lions fan
Detroit Lions fan / David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings signed Justin Jefferson to the largest contract for a non-quarterback in NFL history on Monday, but one day later, Detroit Lions fans are already attempting to reach toward it being a franchise-crippling move.

The Vikings announced that Jefferson agreed to a four-year, $140 million contract with $100 million guaranteed at the same time that Woodward Sports was airing its daily edition of "Wake Up Woodward."

After comparing his contract to other top receivers including Amon-Ra St. Brown and predicting that Jefferson would only play the first two years of his new deal, host Matt Broder framed the contract as a good thing for Lions fans.

“I’m happy, it feels weird saying that about the game’s best wide receiver, which he is... But I’m glad that the Vikings paid him versus trading him and speeding up their Vikings rebuild because… this is that many less weapons that you put around J.J. McCarthy,”

Despite what some Detroit Lions fans think, the Justin Jefferson extension won't cripple the Minnesota Vikings

Broder and fellow hosts Brandon Dent and “KG” went on to point out that it may be difficult to pay Jefferson’s fellow wide receiver Jordan Addison when he’s due for a contract in a few years, but it neglects the state of the Vikings' current rebuild.

Unlike the Chicago Bears, who had to tear it completely down and endure two losing seasons before selecting Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze in the top 10 selections of this year’s NFL Draft, the Vikings already have several weapons in place.

Jordan Addison was one of the league’s top rookie receivers with 911 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, and T.J. Hockenson is second among tight ends with 155 receptions and 1,479 receiving yards since he was acquired from the Lions at the 2022 trade deadline.

The Vikings also have Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw as bookend tackles, but the kicker is that a lot of these players are under team control for the foreseeable future. 

Jefferson’s new contract runs through the 2028 season, and Hockenson signed a four-year, $66 million contract last summer that keeps him in Minnesota through the 2027 season. The Vikings still have to sign Christian Darrisaw to a long-term extension in the coming months, but a lot of the big contracts are done with Addison unlikely to go to the negotiating table until the spring of 2026.

If that’s not enough, Minnesota is currently expected to have around $54.5 million in cap space to fill in the remaining holes in 2025, creating a championship window once McCarthy takes over as the Vikings starter.

That may not mean the Vikings will threaten the Lions for the NFC North title next season, but it’s a different situation. Detroit locked in St. Brown with a four-year, $120 million contract with $34.6 million guaranteed earlier this offseason and then signed right tackle Penei Sewell to a four-year, $112 million contract with $42.9 million a few weeks later.

While both were solid signings that the Vikings are trying to replicate, a key difference was Detroit’s decision to sign Jared Goff to a four-year, $212 million contract with $113.6 million guaranteed. The Vikings tried a similar blueprint with Kirk Cousins over the past six years, but that decision got them one playoff win as they tried to build around him.

Maybe the Lions will have better luck with the emergence of running back Jahmyr Gibbs and wide receiver Jameson Williams, who are both under rookie contracts. But believing that Jefferson’s new deal will cripple the franchise is a stretch– especially if McCarthy hits as the new franchise quarterback.

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