Washington of course made it difficult, but the Commanders will take the field opening weekend with their best player

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Terry McLaurin secured the well-deserved bag in Washington.

Terry McLaurin secured the well-deserved bag in Washington.
Image: Getty Images

For once, the Washington Commanders chose competence. It’s not a common occurrence for franchises whose owners are being accused of dodging a subpoena from the United States Congress. With both their home stadium and reputation crumbling by the day, one smart decision was staring them right in the face: Re-sign Terry McLaurin.

They selected him in the third round of 2019 NFL Draft, and he has been one of the most productive players in that class. In McLaurin’s three NFL seasons, Washington has started seven different quarterbacks. Despite being a young player with all of that inconsistency behind center, he has still managed to total 3,093 yards on 222 catches.

McLaurin has been rewarded with what he wanted, a contract extension. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, McLaurin signed a 3-year extension that could be worth up to $71 million. More than ¾ of the money is guaranteed and his $28 million signing bonus is the biggest one given to a wide receiver.

He had sat out all of Washington’s voluntary offseason workouts and minicamp while awaiting a new deal. Being that he was a third-round pick, McLaurin’s base salary was $850,000 last season. Without a new deal he would’ve gone into the fourth and final year of his rookie deal, making just over $2 million.

While the Commanders eventually did the right thing, they almost botched this situation as well. There are few recognizable names on that team. McLaurin, Chase Young, Montez Sweat, now Carson Wentz, and that is about it. McLaurin has been by far Washington’s most consistent performer since he was drafted. Young and the entire defense did not perform as well as expected last season — much of that due to injury.

McLaurin has been Washington’s only red circle on opposing team’s scouting reports for three years. Defeating that team starts with him. Wherever he lines up, motions to, is going to dictate how opposing defenses line up. If the future for Washington as the Commanders is going to be different, it couldn’t start with their best player on a different roster come September.

Of course Washington made the situation more difficult than it should’ve been, keeping one positive part of the franchise in town, but this is an organization that has to be graded on a curve. Their reputation hasn’t been mediocre since Daniel Snyder purchased the franchise, but the last four years they have been more PR stain than football team. Stories about the borderline sex trafficking of cheerleaders in a foreign country, sexual harassment of employees and reporters, the discovery of Jon Gruden’s racist emails sent to their former general manager during an investigation of their toxic workplace, the terribly organized retirement of the late Sean Taylor’s jersey, allegations of Snyder not putting his fair share towards revenue sharing, the list reads like rap sheet.

At least they took a toothbrush and scrubbed out one small corner of the mess that is the franchise’s public reputation. One spot if you look way off in the corner actually resembles a professional organization instead of a giant glob of scandal and alleged crimes.

For anyone trying to work there and do the right thing, they needed this McLaurin signing. Some good news to come from Adam Schefter’s Twitter account to let the world know that someone in Ashburn, V.A. has a shred of dignity. Someone wants the Commanders to make good decisions and not be a constant embarrassment to the NFL — which is not easy to do.

The Commanders got this one right. Maybe it’s a sign that they’ll one day fix the other 99 problems that they have.

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