For an organization that desperately needed good news, the Washington Commanders received some on Tuesday.
Star wideout Terry McLaurin agreed to a three-year extension worth up to $71 million, keeping him in Washington through the 2025 season. McLaurin's new deal comes roughly a month before training camp is set to begin.
In many cases when long-term, lucrative deals are signed, they're either player-friendly or team-friendly but rarely both. But in this specific case, McLaurin's extension with the Commanders has the potential to be a win-win for both sides.
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Let's start on the team side. Simply put, Washington needed to do whatever it could to keep No. 17 in Burgundy and Gold -- no matter what the price was. By taking care of McLaurin long-term, Washington not only keeps its best wideout in years under contract for the next four years, but also sets a precedent for how the franchise plans to take care of its core players under Ron Rivera.
Since being drafted in 2019, McLaurin has not only been a stud on the field -- he's been a standout off of it, too. The 26-year-old has been a team captain for the past two seasons. He won the good guy award with the media last year. He was a major part of the franchise's rebrand this past February. McLaurin has simply been an excellent representation of the new culture Washington is trying to build.
During the final week of the Commanders' offseason program, Rivera even admitted that retaining McLaurin long-term would be a big step in restoring the franchise's reputation.
"I think that's important," Rivera said on June 15. "When a player like this does make the impact he's made, and not just on the football team but around the community and everything, you have to be able to take care of that guy so everybody understands this is the type of player that we want."
Last summer, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen went through similar contract negotiations that McLaurin just completed. Allen's deal took a little longer to finalize -- the two sides agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract right before training camp. Still, though, the Commanders got it done, and Allen rewarded the franchise with the best season of his career in 2021.
By retaining both Allen and McLaurin long-term in consecutive offseasons, Rivera and his staff have established a positive precedent for how they want to run this franchise. Just look at how several Commanders players reacted when they heard the news. Plus, it's a great sign for other core players on the team like Chase Young, Montez Sweat and others who will be seeking long-term deals in the coming years.
Now, for McLaurin's camp, waiting a few months to agree to an extension ended up working out well in their favor. The deal McLaurin agreed to averaged at $23.3 million per season in new money, the seventh-most of any receiver in the NFL, according to Spotrac.
However, McLaurin's new deal came with a $28 million signing bonus, the most given to any wide receiver in NFL history. That's quite the reward for No. 17, who was set to earn just $2.79 million in the final year of his rookie contract.
It's also worth noting that McLaurin's extension, which is over three years, pays him the fourth-most among wide receivers during that stretch, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Additionally, McLaurin will earn $47 million of the $53.2 million fully guaranteed by next March, allowing the former third-round pick to cash in on his new deal rather quickly.
And, by signing a three-year extension rather than one of four or five seasons, McLaurin also has the potential to land another lucrative deal following this one. If McLaurin plays his entire new deal out, he'll hit the market as an unrestricted free agent following his age 30 season. That still gives him the chance to sign one more large contract, should he continue to ascend on his current trajectory.
Financially, McLaurin's deal makes sense from the team's side, too. With the extension just being three years and most of the guaranteed money paid by March 2023, Washington has some flexibility towards the backend of the deal if McLaurin were to struggle. Of course, that's not the hope or plan from either side, but it does give the team a contingency plan for the worst-case scenario.
Across the board, this extension makes sense in just about every way possible. Both parties should be thrilled with this deal and, more importantly, that the McLaurin-Commanders partnership will continue for the next four seasons.