NFL teams, and the idea of developing and keeping star talent, are on a deadly crash course - and fans are caught in the middle.
Each year the market of almost every position resets itself by either trades or free agency. This year, the wide receiver market was completely flipped upside down, and everyone can thank the Jacksonville Jaguars for that.
Sitting on a boat-load of cap space, and not having what most would consider a roster capable of competing in the immediate future, the Jags were forced to overpay for marginal talent when they signed free agent wide receiver Christian Kirk to a four year, $72M deal, with escalators that could take him to as much as $84M. That is absolutely absurd money for a player who has never broken the 1,000 yards barrier, OR recorded more than 80 receptions in a season.
Kirk’s deal started a domino effect for wide receivers that was viewed by many as panic moves by teams who were afraid to commit big money to deserving stars.
Two MASSIVE trades involving star wideouts Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill came to fruition shorty after, as both the Packers and Chiefs cut ties with their superstars because both didn’t want to pay the massive contracts each player would demand.
The winners?...the Raiders and Dolphins, who secured top three positional talent AND paid said talent nearly $30M/year on new deals.
The losers?... the Packers and Chiefs, who developed said talent. Both had top offenses in 2021 and are now without their most explosive playmakers because both players outperformed their current deals and saw how a very average receiver just got paid - and they wanted some of their own.
This week, many Commanders fans fell into the same trap.
Although some of this talk was probably just pure speculation, questions began flying over whether Washington should trade star receiver Terry McLaurin, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, instead of ponying up the cash to keep the team captain in Burgundy and Gold for the future.
It’s very likely the TEAM doesn’t feel this way, but for fans who would rather play Money Ball with someone else's cash, the idea of having extra high draft picks instead of young, proven talent, is memorizing.
In Washington country, this phenomenon first took hold when fans became enamored with comp picks. Articles would be written and debates would be had about possible returns when really good players were set to become free agents. The allure to try and secure one of those ever-elusive late third round draft picks given out when a team essentially loses more talent than it signs in free agency was attractive to fans instead of simply paying said player. Now, in some cases, the writing may have been on the wall that a certain player wanted out of DC, so that could have played a part in many fan’s feelings.
It now seems to have grown into a free-for-all firesale approach when it comes to really good players coming off rookie deals. Instead of keeping proven homegrown talent, fans are falling in love with the idea that the unknown could be greater than the known.
The irony of it all... For YEARS, Washington fans complained that we didn’t develop and keep our proven talent. Now some want to ship that talent away when it’s time to pay.
The facts are, good players are hard to come by. Stars are even harder to find/develop. Teams need talent at multiple positions to complete in this league.
The draft remains the best way to acquire young inexpensive talent, but as we all have seen, draft picks are very hit and miss. That being said, when a team without a lot of star players HITS on drafted talent, it would be very wise to commit to that talent long-term, instead of searching for a younger, cheaper replacement who may or many not turn out to be good.
For Washington, fans should actually WANT to retain homegrown stars - even if it means paying a premium now. Because we all know, today’s overpay will be tomorrow’s bargain.
What should Washington do with Terry McLaurin?
This poll is closed
Pay him; pay that man his money
Let him play out 2022, and use the franchise tag next year
Trade him this offseason for a draft pick(s)