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Washington’s front office dawdles, precipitates unforced errors with Terry McLaurin

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A month before the 2022 draft, seeing the wide receiver market going absolutely bonkers, I suggested that the Commanders should shop Terry McLaurin around for a potential trade. Though the notion had very little popular appeal - only 13 of poll respondents supported trading him under any condition - it sparked some interesting conversation.

Part of the rationale for suggesting they look at trade opportunities was to give the team some flexibility in potential salary negotiations with Terry. It wasn’t public at the time, but it turns out that’s exactly what the Tennessee Titans were doing with AJ Brown around the same moment.

We know the rest of the story as well, that the Titans and Brown couldn’t reach an accord, and that the Titans traded Brown to the Eagles during the draft in order to pick up his replacement, Treylon Burks.

Whether that move works out or not is immaterial here - though it will surely be revisited for years to come. It gave the Titans’ all the information they needed in order to make an informed decision on their terms, which they did.

Washington decided to take an alternative approach with McLaurin, “patience.”

Generally speaking, patience is a virtue. In this case, however, the “patient” approach has done several things. When I wrote the “trade Terry” article in late March, the going rate for WR1s was around $20-22M per year. In two short months, that rate has climbed into the $24-25M/year range with Stephon Diggs’ and AJ Brown’s recent deals.

This escalation was entirely predictable (and predicted) months ago, and was recently confirmed by well-respected agent Joel Corry.

The team’s “patience,” on a deal that I have very little doubt they will eventually make, has probably cost them about $2-3M/year for the 3-4 years of the extension. Or, it will drive Terry’s salary demands into a range where it’s a rational decision for the team to consider a double franchise tag - which Corry mentions above - a possibility I’d rather not explore too deeply at this point in time.

As the offseason work outs start this week, the broader deleterious impacts of “patience” continue to grow.

For the second year in a row, one of the Commanders’ team captains is missing OTAs as part of a “business decision.”

No one can reasonably blame McLaurin for skipping the voluntary work outs in the middle of contract extension discussions, but it does create an unnecessary distraction and interruption in the team building exercises. And, it’s particularly concerning coming on the heels of Jack Del Rio’s recent attempts to pin some of last year’s lackluster defensive efforts on the absence of players in his secondary during the 2021 offseason activities.

While I’m confident that Terry McLaurin will be here for several more years, this would certainly have been something that would have made sense for the team to resolve much sooner in the offseason, particularly given the inevitably of the eventual outcome for both McLaurin and the Commanders.

Poll

What do you think about the current contract situation with Terry McLaurin?

  • 25%
    I don’t care. It will work itself out.
    (414 votes)
  • 11%
    I’m annoyed, we’re going to have to pay more than we should have.
    (185 votes)
  • 63%
    I’m frustrated. The team has fumbled an easy win and created turmoil where it wasn’t necessary.
    (1035 votes)
1634 votes total Vote Now