Outside of Terry McLaurin, the Commanders have received virtually no production from the wide receiver position over the past three seasons. The franchise has a glaring need at the position, which is a major reason why Washington has constantly been linked to several wideouts with the 2022 NFL Draft just days away.
McLaurin -- who has topped the 1,000-yard mark in each of the past two seasons -- is also entering the final year of his rookie contract. The 2019 third-round pick is deserving of a massive pay raise, especially considering the large sum of money receivers have cashed in this offseason.
Speaking with local media during a pre-draft press conference on Monday, Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew made it clear the two sides have had ongoing discussions about a new deal.
"We have had dialogue with Terry and his agent. I have great respect for both of those men," Mayhew said. "We're really excited about the opportunity to have Terry to continue with us for a long time. We're working on that. I won't get into much details about what's going on there but we have had dialogue."
As the two sides continue to search for common ground, McLaurin's pending contract extension will have no impact on Washington's draft plans this upcoming weekend, according to head coach Ron Rivera.
"Whether this is done or not in the next few days or afterward, is not going to affect what we’re thinking about the draft one way or another," Rivera said.
It's worth noting that the Commanders kicked off their offseason program on April 18 and McLaurin has been present. However, when on-field workouts begin on May 23, McLaurin isn't expected to participate unless a new contract is signed.
Even if the Commanders are able to sign McLaurin long-term, a need at wide receiver is still present. Since McLaurin was drafted three years ago, he's topped the 1,000-yard mark twice. No other Washington wideout has recorded over 500 receiving yards in any of the past three seasons.
Last spring, Washington attempted to solve its need at wide receiver by signing Curtis Samuel to a three-year deal. Samuel, who played under Rivera for nearly three seasons in Carolina, figured to be a versatile asset that could relieve some of the pressure off McLaurin.
Unfortunately for the Commanders, Samuel's first year in Washington was a wash. A groin injury kept him out for much of training camp and the first three games of the season. When he returned to the field, he simply wasn't healthy. As a whole, Samuel played in just five games in 2021, finishing with 10 total offensive touches for 38 scrimmage yards and zero touchdowns. Not ideal.
The Commanders' brass is hoping Samuel can bounce back in 2022, but Rivera made it clear on Monday that his potential return won't impact Washington's thoughts on drafting a receiver, either.
"I don't think it does," Rivera said. "I mean, again, as we go through the process of the Draft, what happens in front of us, what happens in each round, those are things that really dictate and indicate really what you're thinking and where you're going."
With the 2022 NFL Draft lacking a consensus top group of players, it's hard to predict how the first round of the event will unfold. But on Monday, the Commanders front office made it clear that wide receiver is a possibility with pick No. 11 on Thursday evening.