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49ers were eyeing blockbuster trade for Justin Jefferson: Three teams called Vikings to make deal, per report

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The San Francisco 49ers already have a loaded room at wide receiver, but that didn’t stop them from trying to pull off what would have been the biggest trade of the NFL offseason.Β 

According to ESPN, the 49ers were one of at least three teams that called the Minnesota Vikings about possibly making a trade for Justin Jefferson.

So who tried to make a deal for the Vikings star? Adam Schefter named all three teams during the most recent episode of his podcast.Β 

“There were teams that reached out,” Schefter said. “The New York Jets reached out about Justin Jefferson. The Indianapolis Colts reached out about Justin Jefferson. The San Francisco 49ers reached out about Justin Jefferson.”

Of the teams on this list, the 49ers are arguably the most interesting. They’ve been dealing with drama all offseason at the receiver position with Brandon Aiyuk, who’s looking to get a new contract. That drama increased during the draft whenΒ speculation was rampant that the 49ers might look to trade either Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel.Β 

In the six weeks since the draft, things haven’t gotten much better between Aiyuk and the 49ers. The receiver is expected to get hit with more than $100,000 in fines after skipping mandatory minicamp this week.Β 

It’s not clear what Aiyuk’s asking price is, but if he’s looking to make more than $30 million per year, it’s possible the 49ers were thinking that it might make more sense to just go after Jefferson and give him that money instead of giving it to Aiyuk.Β 

If the 49ers had made a trade for Jefferson, they could have thrown Aiyuk or Samuel in the deal or they could have kept all three by letting Aiyuk play out the final year of his rookie deal, which is set to pay him $14.12 million.Β 

As for the timeline of the 49ers’ interest, Schefter said that all three teams called Minnesota BEFORE the draft. If you’re wondering why we didn’t see a trade happen, it’s because the Vikings never had any intention of trading their star receiver.Β 

“Every team that called the Vikings before the draft was told ‘We’re not trading him,'” Schefter said. “The conversations went nowhere with anybody, so it was a moot point.”

In the end, the Vikings decided to make Jefferson the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history by giving him a four-year deal worth $140 million.Β 

After the deal was signed, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell made it clear that his team never even considered the thought of trading Jefferson.Β 

“When you hear certain things — a lot of things come and go — and you kind of chalk it up to what they are,” O’Connell said Tuesday, via ESPN.com. “But when there’s things that are so far outside the realm of what’s actually happening and taking place, you find yourself wanting to come out and say, which I will unequivocally: We never, ever, one time, discussed it internally among the leadership.”

The three teams that got turned down in the Jefferson talks all ended up drafting a receiver this year. The 49ers used a first-round pick on Ricky Pearsall, the Colts took Adonai Mitchell in the second-round and the Jets grabbed Malachi Corley in the third-round.Β 

If the Jets had somehow landed Jefferson, they likely wouldn’t have drafted Corley, but Aaron Rodgers would have ended up with a receiving room that included Jefferson, Garrett Wilson and Mike Williams.Β 

It would have been interesting to see Jefferson with Jets, 49ers or Colts, but that won’t he happening. At least not anytime soon.Β 

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Author: John Breech
June 6, 2024 | 1:15 pm

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