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Thielen's agent 'cautiously optimistic' about new deal

Adam Thielen represents one of the biggest bargains in the football world.

The two-time Pro Bowler, who put up 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018, is set to make $5.85 million in base salary in 2019. Thielen's cap hit of $8.1 million places him below such receivers as Marqise Lee, Albert Wilson and Michael Crabtree.

Breaking down the entire four-year, $19.246 million contract signed in 2017, Thielen looks even more underpaid. On a per-year basis ($4.81 million), Thielen is making less than the likes of Torrey Smith ($5M), Allen Hurns ($5.5M), Taylor Gabriel ($6.5M), a 75-year-old Jordy Nelson ($7.1M), Paul Richardson ($8M) and on and on and on.

It's unquestionable that Thielen has proven he's worth more than his current contract pays. The question is whether the Vikings want to reward him with a new deal with two years left on his contract.

Thielen's agent, Blake Baratz, told SKOR North radio that an extension could be hammered out this offseason, but that the wideout would not hold out to force the Vikings' hand.

"Adam's not that type of person," Baratz said, via ESPN's Courtney Cronin. "I would never condone a player to hold out or be disruptive if it wasn't for a very valid reason, and [what's not] a valid reason, to me, is both sides working in good faith to come to a conclusion that makes sense for everybody."

The Vikings currently don't have a ton of cap space, with just over $7 million, per Over The Cap. An extension would likely attempt to lower Thielen's $8.1 million cap hit for this season.

Outside of withholding his services, Thielen has little leverage. The Vikings could decide -- as several teams do -- they won't redo a deal until the final season of the contract, forcing the 28-year-old to play on a less-than-stellar contract for one more year. With the team holding the leverage, there is also the danger, from Thielen's perspective, of signing another extension that could look silly again in another three years.

"This team has a lot of really good things in place for it, and I know they want to take care of Adam and I know they want Adam there and I know they want to reward Adam," Baratz said.

"What exactly that looks like and when that happens, I can't speak to yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic that everyone will come around and do the right thing.

"There's not -- no one's being greedy. Everyone understands the situation and it's really in their court. He has a couple of years left on his deal, but he's earned a significant pay raise. Not to mention what he's done on the field, he might be one of the best people in the entire National Football League and represents the city and the organization and state and frankly, the entire region unbelievably."

The contrast on Thielen's own team displays how vastly the former All-Pro wideout is underpaid. Stefon Diggs signed a five-year extension worth $72 million last offseason with $40 million in guarantees.

The predicament for Thielen and the Vikings underscores the inherent difficulty of a player who shockingly came from a local tryout to turn into a Pro Bowl star to recoup the true value of his performances.

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