Ladd McConkey inks historic deal with Chargers: Why rookie receiver will be worth every penny

McConkey's rookie deal shows he's the real deal.
Los Angeles Chargers OTA Offseason Workout
Los Angeles Chargers OTA Offseason Workout / Harry How/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Chargers took care of two needs with their first two picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.  With the top pick, they added a powerful piece to their offensive line by selecting Notre Dame’s Joe Alt with the No. 5 overall pick.  They added Georgia’s Ladd McConkey with the No. 34 overall pick on Day 2.

McConkey entered the draft as a late Day 1 or early Day 2 pick due to his skillset.  A shifty route runner with the Bulldogs, the Chargers rookie didn’t have numbers that jumped off the stat sheet during his time at Georgia, but the way he stepped up in the absence of Brock Bowers really put him in the spotlight as one of the top receiver prospects and Jim Harbaugh and the Chargers pounced on the opportunity to add him to the mix and showed that by signing him to a historic rookie deal.

Chargers show faith in Ladd McConkey with historic guaranteed money as a rookie

In the four-year deal worth nearly $10 million, McConkey will receive the most guaranteed money in NFL history by a player selected with the No. 34 overall pick in the draft.  He must really have the coaches loving what they see so far through minicamp and OTAs.

"He's just picked up the offense so easily. It's like he's been a four or five-year vet," Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert said, via The Chargers Wire. "He understands the game, he understands leverage. He's a smart player, he's very athletic. He can beat man coverage, find the soft spot in zones."

The first of three receivers selected in the draft, McConkey will add some lightning to the Bolts’ offense especially after the team cut ties with both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.  With second-year wide receiver Quentin Johnston slated to make a Year 2 jump, Justin Herbert and company will be depending on a young group of receivers to really come through.  McConkey is the piece that could put everything together.

As Herbert said, his understanding of the offense is what can and will make him a viable target for the Chargers in 2024.  The pressure will be on players like Johnston and Joshua Palmer to really step in and fill that void left by Allen and Williams, but the spotlight will be on McConkey who may just be hitting his stride as a receiver entering the NFL.  With a quarterback like Herbert and a coach like Harbaugh, the Georgia product will be put in a position to succeed.

Could he be the second or even first option in the Chargers’ offense once all is said and done by the end of the 2024 NFL season.  It’s possible.  The Bolts are showing their confidence and believe in their rookie receiver with the guaranteed money and the star quarterback is marveling over his new target.

“it’s like he’s been a four-or-five-year vet”, Herbert said during the end of minicamp, via Bleacher Report.  “He understands the game.  He understands leverage.  He’s a smart player, and he’s very athletic.  I’m really looking forward to getting him the ball.”

Will the guaranteed money translate to a guaranteed weapon for the Chargers?  The eye test so far through minicamp says Hebert and Harbaugh have quite a player added to the mix. As for Chargers fans, get excited because McConkey will be worth every penny.