The Importance of a Terry McLaurin Extension

LANDOVER, MD – SEPTEMBER 23: Terry McLaurin #17 of the Washington Redskins is introduced prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at FedExField on September 23, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

As of June 15th, 2022, Terry McLaurin has yet to sign a contract extension with the Washington Commanders. The team’s number one wide receiver is entering the last year of his rookie contract that will earn him roughly $2.9 million. McLaurin has held out of OTAs and has yet to show up for mandatory minicamp and most likely won’t until a new deal has been reached. The importance of an extension cannot be understated. He is a major focal point of Scott Turner’s offense, is the best weapon at new starting quarterback Carson Wentz’s disposal, and means just as much to this team off the field as he does on the field.

The league has seen a substantial increase in resources allocated to aquiring and signing top wide receivers this offseason. There have been massive trades and market-resetting signings for wide receivers. It was conceivable prior to the start of the offseason that Washington could sign Terry McLaurin to an extension that was in the $19-21M per year range. Some believed even that number was too high for him. Now, it would be shocking to many, including myself, if McLaurin signed for anything less than $23 million annually. Spotrac has his projected market value at $21 million per year. They purpose a contract of just over $84 million over 4 years. Honestly, I don’t think anyone that’s paying any attention thinks that would be enough to get Terry to sign.

Over his three seasons since being drafted by Washington in 2019, McLaurin is averaging 74 receptions, 1,030 receiving yards, and five touchdowns per season. He has not recorded less than 919 yards in his career and has had back-to-back one thousand yard seasons. That is a feat that a Washington receiver has not reached since 1994-1996 when Henry Ellard had three straight thousand years seasons. Needless to say, consistency and star power is something Washington has not had at the receiver position in some time. McLaurin brings both to the table.

McLaurin is, as previously mentioned, Carson Wentz’s best available option on the offense. I don’t really think it’s close, either. Wentz has gone most of his career without enough weapons. He has an opportunity here in Washington to have more than enough. Head coach Ron Rivera has invested and sacrificed quite a bit to aquire his new quarterback. Putting Wentz in the best possible position to succeed is what they have to do. Some who are cheap and don’t see the real value of Terry McLaurin might ask, if there’s so many weapons already, then why do we need him?

Well, there’s a lot of uncertainty after McLaurin. First round rookie Jahan Dotson has shown some early promise. Hopefully, he will be the dynamic outside threat that this team desperately needs opposite of Terry. However, he is a rookie. There’s no guarantee that he can be that guy. Curtis Samuel, after having a good few years in Carolina, was signed to a big free agent deal last offseason. However, he couldn’t stay healthy enough to have any significant playing time or impact during the 2021 season. Washington’s 2021 third round pick Dyami Brown had a disappointing rookie season, recording only 12 receptions. Cam Sims has a cult following amongst fans. He can make big plays and has really come through in the clutch in some games. I think at this point, though, it’s clear that Sims isn’t an ideal option as a full time starter.

Add Terry back into the mix, and now there’s much less pressure on the uncertainties. Now you don’t necessarily need Dotson to give you elite production immediately. You also don’t necessarily need to rely on Samuel’s ability to stay healthy or bank on Brown showing a significant jump in performance and production. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t expect these things from those players. We most definitely should, but Terry’s presence alone alleviates the need for those events to take place. Should one of these players fail to stay healthy or perform at their expected level, we still have Terry. Not to mention, if everything goes the right way (i.e., those events taking place), Terry just being on the field will open opportunities for Dotson, Samuel, Brown and the rest of the offense. He makes this offense and this team so much better.

The biggest part of this is who McLaurin is off the field. He is a team leader and team captain. He has been a model teammate and a model citizen. He’s even got his own fun nickname, Scary Terry. He is one of the very few bright spots of this franchise and a fan favorite for sure. That is what is making this whole situation so brutally painful for so many. This shouldn’t be a question of how much he’s worth. They should know exactly how much he is worth to this team. In my opinion, they shouldn’t even try to bargain with him. To this franchise, he’s worth every penny that he’s asking for.

The organization has dealt with scandals, lawsuits, and seemingly endless investigations. Most recently, they’ve been publicly bashed by state local governments and have been denied any government funding for a new stadium. There’s self-inflicted PR hits coming at them from all angles almost everyday. The organization needs every positive it can get it’s hands on. Extending McLaurin is a step in the right direction. It would be a PR win for the organization, something that they need desperately and immediately. The team and the organization needs Terry McLaurin. The fan base has run out of patience and run out of the will to voluntarily go through anymore nonsense. A contract dispute with arguably the team’s best player is just that – nonsense. In conclusion, it is imperative for Rivera and the team to get this extension done. Washington cannot afford to not have Terry McLaurin.

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