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Justin Jefferson’s record breaking non-QB contract will have a ripple effect

The NFL is a league which is constantly being accelerated by a number of factors. Some would see the league’s growth in terms of viewers as the main measuring stick, while others might look at revenue for the same purpose. Nonetheless, the NFL salary cap, and its steady increase, is a great way to view the steady growth in many aspects of the league.

The most glaring area of impact would be that of contracts being handed out to players, and the price tag keeps getting higher and higher.

Monday morning news broke of the Minnesota Vikings giving All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson a record-breaking contract for a non quarterback. A total of $140 million, with $110 million dollars in guaranteed money.

This contract will absolutely rock the boat for wide receivers looking get paid, and the ripple effect will have a lasting impact on players like CeeDee Lamb of the Dallas Cowboys and especially Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals.

For Pittsburgh Steelers fans, watching the Bengals have to give Chase that much money, or likely more, along with the huge contract they’ve already given Joe Burrow will be a welcome sight as the team will see the Bengals have to make financial decisions which can hinder the team as a whole, to take care of the individual.

But before Steelers fans go to their phones/keyboards to gloat, just remember the Steelers will be in a similar situation with George Pickens in just over a year. Pickens will want fair compensation for his skill set with his first negotiated contract with the Steelers, and if the Steelers are smart they’ll want to get out in front of the ever-increasing cost for receivers in today’s NFL.

When you look at what the Detroit Lions did with Amon-Ra St. Brown and the Miami Dolphins with Jaylen Waddle and their contracts, it will pay dividends in the long run. These two organizations didn’t wait until the next big contract was signed, instead they gave their players fair market value well before the cost of doing business escalated faster than the current housing market in the United States.

I’m not suggesting the Steelers offer Pickens a deal before the start of this 3rd year as a professional, but possibly doing a deal after the 2024 season wouldn’t necessarily be considered doing bad business. Believe it or not, there will come a time when we will look back at this Justin Jefferson contact and wonder how the Vikings got him at such a steal.

Think I’m crazy?

Remember when the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins in free agency to a fully guaranteed contract worth over $80 million dollars? People thought that was a travesty! How could they guarantee a full contract?! Could you imagine getting a quarterback on the open market for that cheap now?

That contract eventually turned into the monster deal with the Cleveland Browns and Deshaun Watson. It was only a matter of time until NFL players demanded more guaranteed money, similar to what is happening in Major League Baseball and the NBA.

Needless to say, every time there is a contract given out like the one given to Jefferson, it raises the bar even higher for the rest of the league. The ripple effect is inevitable. Will this effect benefit the Steelers? If the Bengals have to pull up another Brinks truck to pay Chase, and the Steelers can get Pickens under contract after 2024 before the going rate continues to sky rocket, it absolutely could benefit the Steelers in many ways.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2024 offseason.


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