The Washington Commanders’ fan base was left in a state of despondency after it was reported Terry McLaurin would skip mandatory minicamp this week as he continues to negotiate a new-and-improved contract with the franchise.
Though far from ideal, as it allows for further speculation about McLaurin’s future, there’s still plenty of time for an agreement to get done.
While McLaurin could’ve followed in Deebo Samuel’s footsteps and showed up to minicamp while being a non-participant, the star receiver, who hasn’t put a foot wrong off the field over his three seasons, is sending a clear message by not reporting as he’s now subject to a $95,877 cumulative fine by the team.
At the end of the day, it’s not surprising McLaurin won’t be involved at mandatory minicamp. After all, OTAs just wrapped last week and there was no indication both sides were close to reaching an agreement then. Just five days later, the parties remain far apart in talks, per Nicki Jhabvala of the washington post.
Whether you think McLaurin missing minicamp is a huge deal, we think we can all agree that Ron Rivera was wrong to get fans’ hopes up.
Ron Rivera shouldn’t have gotten Commanders fans’ hopes up by expecting Terry McLaurin to report to minicamp.
After last Wednesday’s final OTAs practice, Rivera told reporters he expected McLaurin and Daron Payne to attend minicamp. Perhaps the Commanders’ head coach didn’t want to further agitate fans following the Jack Del Rio controversy by revealing McLaurin’s actual plans, but why say anything at that point?
This might not seem like a nothing-burger in the grand scheme of things, but when a fan base hears from its team’s head coach that its supposed disgruntled receiver, who has yet to get on-field reps with his new quarterback, is expected to be at mandatory minicamp after he skipped voluntary workouts, odds are they’re going to operate under the assumption the player will attend.
By saying he expects McLaurin to report under the premise that minicamp is mandatory, Rivera opened himself to unnecessary criticism. Just say nothing, or play both sides of the equation. Heck, take the Bill Belichick approach and leave the door open for fans and pundits to speculate.
It never seemed liked McLaurin was going to attend minicamp, and Rivera, for one reason or another, changed the narrative on the last day of OTAs. The fan base was already on edge with McLaurin’s contract situation. Why give them any semblance of hope that he had changed his mind?
Maybe we’re nit-picking, but this isn’t the first time Rivera has received backlash by giving the media what it wants to hear. Amid Washington’s slow start last season, the head coach refused to hold the team accountable and would rattle off moral victories in his postgame pressures. Like the McLaurin hiccup, that helped nobody.
We admire Rivera for not throwing his players under the bus, but there’s nothing wrong with dishing hard truths when it’s called for.