Terry McLauren has skipped off-season workouts thus far as he awaits a burgundy and gold Brinks truck to back in to his driveway. He is seeking a new deal that will pay him elite wide receiver money, which begs the question: Is Terry an elite wide receiver?
There is no question that McLauren is an excellent receiver and he has been the best player on Washington’s offense since he first stepped on the field and torched the Eagles in week one of 2019. But there is a wide chasm between excellent and elite. How does he stack up against the best of the DeAndre Hopkins’ and Cooper Kupps of the league?
Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Network both have McLauren ranked as the 14th best receiver headed into 2022. That is a pretty solid position when considering the talent at receiver in today’s NFL, and it’s a downright miracle when considering who has been throwing him the ball.
Over his three year career, McLauren has had eight(!) different starting quarterbacks. The guys above McLauren on the list have been catching passes from Tom Brady (Chris Godwin, Mike Evans), Aaron Rodgers (DeVonte Adams), Patrick Mahommes (Tyreek Hill), Matthew Stafford(Kupp), Josh Allen (Stephon Diggs), Justin Herbert (Keenan Allen) and Joe Burrow (Ja’Marr Chase). Even the guys without future hall of fame quarterbacks at least had consistency at the position. Kirk Cousins (Justin Jefferson), Kyler Murray (Hopkins), Ryan Tannehill (AJ Brown)and Jimmy Garrapolo (Deebo Samuel) may not be world beaters but they are top half of the league quarterbacks and, more importantly, they show up every week. Of the eight QBs McLauren has played with, only Alex Smith had ever played at a pro bowl level—and that was when he had two legs.
McLaurin has spent his career with guys who were at best fringe starters and mostly backup level.
Despite the dearth of talent getting him the ball, McLauren has averaged 74 catches for 1030 yards over his first three years. Compare that to Cooper Kupp’s first three healthy years, 2017, 2019 and 2020 (he only played 8 games in 2018). Kupp averaged 82 catches and 1008 yards while catching passes from Jarred Goff. Goff isn’t a top tier QB but he is better than anything Washington has had over Terry’s career. When paired with Matthew Stafford in 2021, Kupp exploded for one of the best receiver seasons in NFL history.
Now, Carson Wentz isn’t Matthew Stafford, but he is miles ahead of anyone Terry has had this far. Wentz’s arrival should lead to a big jump in production for McLauren.
Until he gets a full season of consistent quarterback play, it is difficult to judge exactly where McLauren stands among the NFL elite, but based on what he has produced this far, he belongs in the conversation and deserves to get paid like an elite wide receiver.
Hopefully he will get paid in DC.