Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, and Terry McLaurin Won’t Participate in Offseason Programs Because They Wanna Get PAID

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While the Bears got the ball rolling with their offseason training program on April 14, there are 13 other NFL teams who are beginning voluntary workouts today. Others will soon follow as the week goes on.

HOWEVA, there are some high-profile players who won’t be following suit:

After watching the receiver market go bonkers earlier this offseason, standout pass-catchers Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, and Terry McLaurin are using this opportunity to make a statement. And it’s a simple one, at that. They won’t participate in on-field offseason workouts unless their contract demands are met. OK, that might seem a bit extra. But these are wide receivers we’re talking about here — they’re all a little extra. And, to be clear, teams are currently in the voluntary offseason workout plan. This portion of the program doesn’t include on-field work. Even still … laying the ground work now makes for a bold opening shot in an attempt to apply pressure to get a deal done. Nothing wrong with making your feelings to your bosses known to start the work week.

Samuel, Brown, and McLaurin were Day 2 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft who are about to enter the fourth year of their rookie contracts. Each is eligible for an extension now, but have yet to receiver one from their respective teams. And after seeing Stefon Diggs get an extension from the Bills, plus Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams get trades in order to satisfy their contractual desires, it is understandable why Samuel $3.936M base salary), Brown ($3.986M), and McLaurin ($2.79M) want to get theirs, too. But at this point, their only move is to do what they’re about to do — take a stand, declare they won’t participate in on-field portions of the offseason program, and hope their teams flinch first in this stare down.

On an alternative timeline, I’d want the Bears to be full bore going after one of these presumably disgruntled receivers. Samuel, 26, is a do-it-all weapon coming off a season in which he went for 1,405 receiving yards and added 365 rushing yards. Brown, 24, began his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons and went to the Pro Bowl in 2020. McLaurin, 26, has put up at least 900 receiving yards in each of his first three years, with the last two seasons featuring at least 1,000 receiving yards. Each of these players is playing at a high level as they reach their prime. And each would be a dream to have on the other end of a Justin Fields pass. But the draft capital it would take to snag one of these receivers from their respective situation figures to be ghastly. Especially if the Tyreek Hill trade (5 picks, including a 1st and 2nd in this year’s draft) is going to be the new bar.

Nevertheless, we’ll keep an eye on this situation. Perhaps the trade market will spit out another deal. Maybe these players will get the extensions they crave. At minimum, we should continue to monitor the receiver market as it develops. Even if it is just to remind us of how important this draft could be to the future of team building. Having good players who want big-money extensions because they’ve put up stats that merit such a discussion are first-world football problems I wish the Bears were having.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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