Awaiting Terry McLaurin’s arrival, Carson Wentz excited to ‘elevate’ offense

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Awaiting McLaurin’s arrival, Wentz excited to ‘elevate’ offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Terry McLaurin’s contract status has caused him to miss out on Washington Commanders’ OTAs for the past three weeks. With one of the league’s best receivers MIA, quarterback Carson Wentz has enjoyed pairing with the Commanders’ other targets, specifically rookie Jahan Dotson.

But although McLaurin hasn’t paired with his new QB on the field yet, the duo has been in contact throughout the offseason in an attempt to shore up their chemistry for when the bright lights are on.

“I’ve spoken with Terry quite a bit,” Wentz told reporters after Washington’s OTA session on Wednesday. “I’ve been around him a couple times already, so excited for when we do get back out on that field together.”

It hasn’t looked as though Wentz has struggled in McLaurin’s absence. The 29-year-old QB has looked comfortable with his supporting cast, including everyone from rookies to some proven veterans.

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Dotson especially has emerged as one of his favorite targets, as it seems as though whenever they hit the field together, not only does Dotson somehow find himself consistently open, but Wentz looks capable of sliding the ball into tight windows to connect with the rookie.

“I think we have a unique group,” Wentz said. “It’s been fun getting even the young guys involved, the guys we drafted—Jahan, Cole [Turner], Brian Robinson—getting all those guys in the mix kinda halfway through this offseason. It’s been a lot of fun to just see different personalities, and really we’ll start to see that in training camp once the pads go on…I think we got a good bunch of the skillset guys.”

Turner, the rookie tight end out of Nevada, is an intriguing tight end option in Logan Thomas’ absence as the vet continues his ACL rehab. Washington’s backfield is a deep bunch as well, with Robinson’s arrival opening the door for a possible running-back-by-committee approach in 2022.

But it doesn’t take a genius to know that McLaurin has been the Commanders’ best offensive player for many seasons now. He’s averaged over 1,000 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns over the course of his three-year career to date. Wentz, along with the rest of the team, is licking his chops at the prospect of connecting with the WR come Week 1.

“Everybody knows what he brings to the table,” Wentz said of McLaurin. “I’ve now been watching film and seeing different things and seeing him just continue to make play after play. The dynamic he brings will just elevate us, there’s no doubt about it.”

McLaurin’s contract hangs in the balance as the reason why the 26-year-old hasn’t suited up in Ashburn yet this summer. Though Ron Rivera has said he expects every player to arrive for minicamp next week “because it’s mandatory,” the Commanders’ front office is keen on crafting a new deal for the wideout.

Notable storylines from players in similar situations as McLaurin around the league offer no indication of how his negotiations might go, either. Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf skipped the first day of mandatory minicamp given his contract situation. San Francisco WR/RB Deebo Samuel, even after requesting a trade earlier this offseason, arrived at 49ers minicamp this week.

So nobody can truly predict how McLaurin might handle his peculiar position. Ideally, though, he’ll be in Ashburn next week and he and Carson Wentz can finally start to get on-field reps together.

“He’s an extremely talented guy and a great, great person, I’ve already learned, and a hard-working guy,” Wentz said. “I know he’ll be ready to go when that time is.”