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The NFL’s various teams are currently taking very different approaches to the receiver position. Some are drafting new ones. Some are paying the ones they have. Some are paying big money to new arrivals after giving up trade assets.
G.M. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is a new arrival in Minnesota. The team has a star receiver in Justin Jefferson, who is one season away from eligibility for a new contract. Earlier this week, I asked Adofo-Mensah to address Jefferson within the context of this unusual new world of approaching the receiver position.
“He’s special,” Adofo-Mensah said of Jefferson. “First and foremost. That’s the first thing I knew. When you study these rosters for these job interviews, you get excited about working with a guy like that. Great players like him are scarce. They don’t grow on trees, right? You could draft four times for the next four years in the first-round pick, four receivers, and none of them would be as good as Justin Jefferson. . . .
“Whatever you decide, make sure that you appreciate the likelihood of replacing that kind of skill set. . . . I’ve had conversations with Justin and his agent; I’ll keep those conversations to us alone, but when you’re doing these conversations you think about the value of the player, but also where you are as a team. If your team construct was in a place where maybe you’re far away from winning, maybe you’d make a different decision. We don’t plan to be that way so I’m not trying to say that, but I think every decision is kind of made and people think about these decisions in isolation, but they’re made as a part of a portfolio of decisions. If you look at the decisions made in this offseason, I think you can tell that.”
He’s right. Every team is making its receiver decisions based on their own unique situations. For the Vikings, who are closer to contending than not contending, it makes sense to keep Jefferson. It may make even more sense after Jefferson has a season in an offense that will feature him the way the Rams offense featured Cooper Kupp.
But it won’t be cheap. And if Jefferson does indeed become even better this year than he’s been in an offense that could be supercharged in comparison to what it has been, it will only get more expensive to keep him around.