Why the Justin Jefferson contract is bad news for the NY Jets

Garrett Wilson is going to get PAID
Justin Jefferson
Justin Jefferson / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets hit an absolute home run with their 2022 NFL Draft class, netting themselves a quartet of franchise building blocks in Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson, and Breece Hall.

But while that draft class provided a foundation for the team's current Super Bowl window, the day of reckoning is coming soon for those players. The Jets will be forced to make some very difficult financial decisions in the near future.

One of those decisions just got a little more expensive following the record-setting extension signed by Minnesota Vikings superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson on Monday.

Jefferson reportedly agreed to terms on a four-year, $140 million contract worth $35 million per year and including $110 million in guarantees. The deal makes Jefferson not only the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history but also the highest-paid non-QB in league history.

In turn, it also resets the wide receiver market and elevates future contracts at the position. That's great news for Garrett Wilson but not-so-great news for the Jets.

Justin Jefferson's contract increases what the NY Jets will pay Garrett Wilson

Jefferson is obviously a transcendent talent whose contract likely won't be touched by any other wide receiver in the near future. His extension is market-setting but also a clear indication that he's in a league of his own.

That said, Jefferson's contract doesn't necessarily raise Wilson's overall ceiling, but it does raise the floor of what he will command as soon as next offseason when he's extension-eligible.

The second-highest-paid wide receiver behind Jefferson is Philadelphia Eagles star A.J. Brown, whose current deal is worth $32 million per year. Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyreek Hill are the only other wide receivers currently making over $30 million per season.

Jaylen Waddle's new three-year, $84.75 million contract might provide a clearer baseline for what the floor of Wilson's deal might look like. With another year to go and others such as CeeDee Lamb, Ja'Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins also looking for new contracts, the wide receiver market should only continue to explode.

Jefferson's contract sets the bar for what a generational wide receiver should make while Waddle's deal is more in line with what Wilson should be expected to receive. However, it wouldn't be surprising to see his value increase to over $30 million AAV by the end of the 2024 season.

A healthy Aaron Rodgers should only help improve Wilson's production, and the wide receiver market should continue to grow over the next year. That means the Jets will have to offer a hefty payday to keep their star wide receiver in Florham Park.

The Jets and Garrett Wilson will begin to discuss extension talks next offseason. Just remember this Justin Jefferson contract when those talks open.