Justin Jefferson Ranks Top 5 NFL Quarterbacks; Doesn't Include Kirk Cousins

By Jason Hall

July 11, 2023

New England Patriots v Minnesota Vikings
Photo: Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson excluded his teammate, Kirk Cousins, while ranking the NFL's top 5 quarterbacks in a clip shared by Brazilian journalist Danilo Lacalle earlier this month.

Jefferson's list included the following players:

  1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets
  3. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Jefferson's personal rankings were notable for several reasons, specifically Cousins' absence despite the two playing together throughout the former LSU standout's first three seasons and his public support of the quarterback amid criticism last season.

"All of the Kirk criticism has to stop!!" Jefferson quote-tweeted in December in response to a clip of NFL analyst and former NFL linebacker Channing Crowder pointing out "some weaknesses" in Cousins' game during an ESPN appearance in December. "I understand y’all hate the dad swag but come on his numbers are right with y’all’s MVP candidates."

The list was otherwise mostly conventional, but did include ranking Rodgers as the second best quarterback in the league over Burrow, Jefferson's former LSU teammate; Hurts, who was coming off an MVP-caliber season and historic Super Bowl performance; and Allen, widely regarded as one of the league's best young quarterbacks.

In May, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Vikings are reportedly "going to prioritize" a new deal for Jefferson, which could be the largest contract ever given to a non-quarterback.

"Because wide receiver—that market has gone up to $30 million with [Miami Dolphins wide receiver] Tyreek Hill, [Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver] Davante Adams, all of those guys," Fowler said while addressing the potential deal during an appearance on SportsCenter (h/t Bleacher Report). "Jefferson is considered by many around the league as the very best receiver in the NFL. So, are we talking, you know, Aaron Donald money, $31 million per year? We'll see."

Jefferson led all NFL players with 128 receptions and 1,809 yards -- which was the sixth-highest average total in league history -- as well as eight touchdowns, winning the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award, among several other awards, during the NFL Honors ceremony last month. The former LSU standout has recorded 4,824 yards, which is the most ever recorded by a receiver through their first three NFL seasons.

Cousins is in the final year of his contract with the Vikings after initially signing as a free agent in 2018.

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