Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera opened up wide receiver Terry McLaurin being absent from mandatory minicamp. McLaurin is seeking a contract extension, as the receivers’ market has skyrocketed this offseason.
“We understand what Terry is trying to do,” Rivera said per ESPN’s John Keim. “We want him here. He’s going to be here. We believe in him as a football player.”
McLaurin skipped voluntary offseason team activities. He’s been away from the team since April’s NFL Draft. Contract talks have had some progress, but both sides are reportedly “still far apart.”
Thus, McLaurin is skipping minicamp. He flew to Florida to continue his offseason workouts in preparation of the upcoming season.
“I believe we’re headed in the right direction because at the end of the day, you both start somewhere and then you hopefully end up in the middle,” Rivera said per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala.
Rivera pointed out the Commanders opened negotiations with McLaurin earlier this year than they did defensive tackle Jonathan Allen a year ago. Ultimately, Allen got his extension just ahead of training camp. The team surely hopes to have the same outcome with getting a deal done with McLaurin.
Washington drafted McLaurin in the third round in 2019. From the onset he emerged as the Commanders’ top receiver. In three seasons, he has 222 catches for 3,090 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s stood out despite having eight different quarterbacks.
McLaurin is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. He’s set to make $2.79 million for the 2022 season, but several top wide receivers have received massive contract extensions, setting the benchmark at $25 million per year.
As a result, top wide receivers from the 2019 draft class to seek hefty pay raises. A.J. Brown received a four-year, $100 million extension with $57.2 million guaranteed after the Tennessee Titans traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Meanwhile, veteran wideouts such as Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp have helped reset the wide receiver price tag. Hill is the highest-paid wide receiver in the league at $30 million per season with the Miami Dolphins.
“Terry is a big part of what we want to do and accomplish as a football team,” Rivera added, per Jhabvala. “We’re doing everything we can. We’ll continue to work with it and try to get Terry here to be part of our football team.”
The Commanders seem interested in keeping McLaurin. The question is at what price? While negotiations continue, McLaurin will remain absent from the team.