NFL Rumors: Terry McLaurin's Contract Talks with Commanders 'Haven't Really Started'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 11, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 21: Terry McLaurin #17 of the Washington Football Team looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 21, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The next standoff between an NFL team and a high-profile wide receiver might be brewing in the nation's capital.

The MMQB's Albert Breer reported that a new contract for Washington Commanders star Terry McLaurin is "nowhere" and that "negotiations haven’t really started."

McLaurin is entering the last year of his rookie deal and will become a free agent in 2023.

A big payday figures to be coming the 26-year-old's way. Through three seasons, he has caught 222 passes for 3,090 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Those numbers require the added context that eight different quarterbacks (Taylor Heinicke, Dwayne Haskins Jr., Case Keenum, Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Garrett Gilbert and Colt McCoy) have started at least one game for Washington since McLaurin entered the league.

McLaurin almost certainly isn't going to overtake Tyreek Hill ($30 million) as the NFL's highest-paid receiver, but $20-plus million annually figures to be a reasonable estimate. Breer posited that something along the lines of A.J. Brown's four-year, $100 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles would reflect the current market.

The fact that the Commanders haven't entered into serious negotiations with McLaurin's representatives is surprising because of how valuable he is to the offense. This offseason is also the last opportunity for Washington to utilize him as a major trade asset if it becomes clear his price is too rich for the front office's tastes.

How the franchise handled contract discussions with Kirk Cousins could be a helpful guide about what to expect with McLaurin. The team never really presented Cousins with a long-term contract worth signing, so he played on the franchise tag for two years and left when the first opportunity to get a multiyear offer presented itself from another team.

The Commanders might be content to head into the 2022 season without any long-term agreement with McLaurin on the basis that they can tag him in 2023 and go from there.