The 2022 NFL offseason has seen lots of big-name movement -- either contractually or between teams -- and especially at the wide receiver position. That trend is primed to continue ahead of the draft, with Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown and Terry McLaurin -- three star wide receivers from the 2019 class -- set to skip their respective offseason programs in search of new deals, according to ESPN. McLaurin plans to report to Commanders facilities, per Adam Schefter, but is not expected to take the field.
The news comes roughly a week after veteran Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs inked a lucrative extension with the Bills, adding to a record reset of the wide receiver market. Four of the top five receiver contracts in terms of average annual payout have now been signed in 2022, with Tyreek Hill (Dolphins) and Davante Adams (Raiders) each netting over $28 million per year on deals signed with new teams. Immediately following Diggs' new deal, Samuel (49ers), Brown (Titans) and McLaurin (Commanders) became logical candidates to seek their own extensions next.
All three of the latter receivers are under contract through 2022, but "want new contracts at a time ... when WR deals have exploded," Schefter reported Monday. Because Samuel, Brown and McLaurin were all second-round draft picks, their respective teams cannot exercise fifth-year options to retain them through 2023. That means if they do not strike long-term deals before the start of mandatory offseason activities, like veteran minicamp and training camp, the wideouts could risk holdout fines in order to spark trade talks, in hopes of other teams meeting their financial demands.
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Samuel, Brown and McLaurin, all of whom earn under $1.9 million per year on their rookie deals, figure to command somewhere in the ballpark of $20 million to $27 million per season on extensions. No new deals appear imminent between any of the Pro Bowl-caliber pass catchers and their teams, but it remains to be seen whether any of them would seriously consider holding out beyond voluntary programming.