Logan Thomas understands why his teammate Terry McLaurin isn't at minicamp this week. The Washington Commanders tight end summed up the duality of the business of the NFL in the context of McLaurin's contract holdout the day after McLaurin decided to skip camp.
TE Logan Thomas on WR Terry McLaurin's absence:
"The NFL is going to use you. At the same time, you got to get yours. ... I understand where he's coming from, man. You got one chance [to make big money]. ... Do your thing, Terry."
— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) June 14, 2022
It's pretty uncommon for a teammate to publically talk about another player's holdout and contract situation. In fact, not talking about other players' money is considered one of the unwritten rules of football, according to former NFL wideout Donte Stallworth.
More often, players defer those types of questions to the head coach or the general manager rather than take a side in front of reporters and cameras. So, Thomas' tacit endorsement of McLaurin's holdout is certainly something new.
Thomas would know about the fragility of an NFL career, too. He missed 11 games this past season after suffering hamstring and knee injuries — the last one ending his season at Week 13. This all came just months after Thomas inked a brand new three-year, $24 million extension with the Commanders.
McLaurin, meanwhile, is seeking a long-term extension with the Commanders. He decided not to attend the team's mandatory practices this week after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a new deal. McLaurin and the Commanders are reportedly not close to a new deal, according to The Washington Post's Nicki Jhabvala. He'll make just $4,816,45 in base salary this year if a new deal isn't reached.
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said he understands what McLaurin is trying to do by holding but believes negotiations with the receiver are "headed in the right direction," despite the reports that suggest otherwise. Rivera tried to squash any potential trade speculation as well on Tuesday by adding, "We're not going anywhere with Terry. We want Terry to be here. ... We’ll continue to work with it and try to get Terry here to be part of our football team."
The receiver faces fines for every day he's not excused from practice — up to $95,877 total if McLaurin misses all three days of minicamp.
McLaurin isn't the first WR to hold out this offseason
The 26-year-old McLaurin is the second receiver from the 2019 draft class to hold out this offseason after the Seattle Seahawks' D.K. Metcalf opted to skip his team's mandatory camp last week.
Two of the other biggest names from that class, A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel, have either been paid or showed up to camp anyway. Brown earned a four-year, $100 million contract after the Tennessee Titans traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles, while Samuel reported to San Francisco 49ers' camp despite requesting a trade. This all comes during an offseason where the wide receiver market exploded with record-setting contracts.
It stands to reason McLaurin is looking for a deal at least in the same realm as Brown's. McLaurin averaged 1,030 over the past three seasons since he entered the league as a third-round pick. He's also tallied 222 receptions, including 16 touchdowns, over that stretch — all with quarterbacks like Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, Case Keenum, Colt McCoy, Garrett Gilbert and Ryan Fitzpatrick.