Ladd McConkey

Chargers Sign Round 2 WR Ladd McConkey, Wrap Draft Class

Make that nine unsigned draft picks as of June 17. A year after 14 second-rounders entered July unsigned, the 2024 draft class has now seen every Round 2 choice agree to terms by mid-June.

The Chargers are the last team to cross the finish line here, but’s Ian Rapoport tweets they now have second-round wide receiver Ladd McConkey signed to his four-year rookie deal. As the No. 34 overall pick, McConkey will see most of his rookie contract guaranteed.

A near-$1MM gap between the Year 4 salary guarantees for the Nos. 33 and 35 overall picks (Bills WR Keon Coleman, Falcons DL Ruke Orhorhoro) undoubtedly created a natural drag in Chargers-McConkey talks. But the Georgia alum is locked in and landed more guarantees than Will Levis did after he became the second choice in last year’s second round. The Titans guaranteed Levis $8.7MM of Levis’ $9.5MM rookie deal; Rapoport adds McConkey will better that.

Even factoring in the QB premium Levis received, this year’s batch of second-rounders making notable guarantee strides pointed to McConkey bettering Levis’ contract. The salary cap’s $30.6MM jump is raising all boats, though second-rounders have continued to make progress here. In addition to three guaranteed years, Coleman’s Bills contract includes $1.74MM of his $2.1MM 2027 base salary. Coleman’s guarantee percentage betters that of Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, whom the Buccaneers chose to close out the 2021 first round. McConkey probably will not be far behind here.

While McConkey’s contract will provide him key security and help the players chosen near the top of the 2025 second round, he steps in at an interesting point on the Chargers’ timeline. The team’s Jim Harbaugh hire preceded a Mike Williams release and a Keenan Allen trade to the Bears. McConkey will join Josh Palmer, DJ Chark and 2023 first-round pick Quentin Johnston as the top Justin Herbert targets — in what is expected to be a run-heavier offense compared to recent years.

The Chargers traded up (via the Patriots) for McConkey, moving up three spots for the national championship-winning WR. A shifty slot player, McConkey showed notable improvement from 2021 to ’22. In the latter campaign, he posted 762 yards and seven touchdowns on 58 receptions. Back and ankle injuries limited McConkey in 2023 — a season that also saw Georgia lose Brock Bowers for a stretch — but he still averaged a career-best 15.9 yards per catch. Checking in at 6-foot, 186 pounds at the Combine, McConkey improved his draft stock by blazing to a 4.39-second 40-yard dash.

Allen’s crafty route running aided Herbert’s quick NFL ascent, with Williams providing contributions — particularly in 2021 — as a downfield option. The Bolts, who now employ run-oriented OC Greg Roman, now have McConkey signed through 2027. After Johnston struggled as a rookie, the team will hope McConkey can make a quicker assimilation to help Herbert in Harbaugh’s first season back in the pros.

Finishing off this year’s second-round signings, the Chargers have completed their draft class deals. Here is how Harbaugh’s first Los Angeles class looks:

Ten Unsigned 2024 Draft Picks Remain

The NFL collectively is ahead of where it was last year with regards to draft signings. Teams have navigated the guarantee issue second-round contracts presented in recent years. Unlike 2023, when 30 players were unsigned in late June and nearly half the second round was without contracts entering July, we are down to 10 unsigned rookies from the 2024 class. Here is the lot still without NFL contracts:

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

The clearest difference between this year and last comes from the second round. On June 17, 2023, half the second-rounders were unsigned. The 2011 CBA introducing the slot system has removed most of the drama from rookie-deal negotiations, but second-rounders continue to make guarantee gains. This contractual component has complicated matters for teams in the past, but that has not been the case — for the most part — this year.

A number of 2021 second-round picks remain attached to their rookie deals. Those terms illustrate the improvements Round 2 draftees have made on that front since. The Jaguars did guarantee 2021 No. 33 pick Tyson Campbell‘s first three seasons; his fourth brought $50K guaranteed. This year, the Bills needed to guarantee nearly Keon Coleman‘s entire rookie contract. Coleman has three years locked in and $1.74MM of his $2.1MM 2027 base salary is guaranteed at signing. This year’s No. 59 overall pick (Texans tackle Blake Fisher) secured more in Year 4 guarantees than Campbell’s deal contains.

A sizable gap does exist between Coleman’s final-year guarantees and those of Falcons DT Ruke Orhorhoro (No. 35 overall). The Clemson product has $966K of his $2.1MM 2024 base guaranteed. This gulf has likely caused the holdup for the Chargers and McConkey, a player who — after the exits of longtime starters Keenan Allen and Mike Williams — stands to be a central figure in the Bolts’ first Jim Harbaugh-era offense. With the top players in Round 2 on the cusp of seeing fully guaranteed deals, McConkey can set another notable precedent while gaining some additional security for himself.

First-round contracts have only been fully guaranteed en masse since 2022, when Vikings safety Lewis Cine — chosen 32nd overall — secured those terms. Though, matters like offset language still have been known to slow negotiations. Extended holdouts into training camp no longer occur among rookies, with players risking the loss of an accrued season toward free agency — a product of the 2020 CBA — by doing so. Corley and Benson were this year’s top third-round picks. The 49ers gave No. 64 overall pick Renardo Green two fully guaranteed years. That has likely caused a holdup for the Jets and Cardinals, considering the progress made via contracts agreed to by earlier draftees.

Patriots Deal No. 34 Pick To Chargers

The Chargers are moving up three spots, using the Patriots’ No. 34 position to do so. New England will slide down three places, picking up Nos. 37 and 110 from Los Angeles. The Bolts will add No. 137.

This swap of fourth-rounders will lead to the Chargers selecting Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey. The Bolts passed on a glaring need to add Joe Alt in Round 1; they will begin addressing the receiver position tonight. This move represents a continuation of the run on receivers stemming from the end of the first round Thursday night.

McConkey spent his full college career with the Bulldogs, and he played a role in the team’s back-to-back national titles. The shifty slot man showed notable improvement from 2021 to ’22. In the latter campaign, he posted 762 yards and seven touchdowns on 58 receptions.

That was followed by an injury-shortened 2023 campaign, with McConkey being limited to just nine contests. However, he averaged a career-best 15.9 receptions while remaining a key figure in Georgia’s passing offense. At the Combine, the 6-0, 186-pounder ran an impressive 40-yard dash time (4.39 seconds). That cemented his status as one of the top options in a loaded receiver class.

Finding playing time should not be challenging for McConkey. Los Angeles released Mike Williams before trading away Keenan Allen this offseason. As a result, the WR spot has been seen as a major need in spite of the decision to select Quentin Johnston in the first round of last year’s draft. Johnston had an underwhelming rookie campaign, but he should be in line for a notable role in 2024. The same will likely be true of McConkey.

Latest On Teams Targeting WRs In First Round

We know that the Steelers have been identified as a team that could be likely to trade for a veteran wide receiver this offseason, but what about teams looking for wide receivers in the first round? A lot of focus has been placed on teams looking to draft quarterbacks, per usual, but Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post provided us with the names of a few teams targeting pass-catchers on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft. La Canfora identifies the Cardinals, Bears, Colts, Bills, 49ers, and Chiefs as the likely suspects.

Some of these, we’ve heard plenty about already. At No. 4 overall, the Cardinals sit in the line of picks that are all expected to be quarterbacks, according to most mock drafts, meaning they are expected to trade down from the position. Many see them trading back to No. 6, allowing the Giants to select Daniel Jones‘ potential replacement. This would leave them in line to draft the class’s top receiver prospect, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. This could provide Arizona with a new top receiver after the departure of Marquise Brown to Kansas City.

This would require the Chargers to pass on wide receiver, a huge position of need after watching both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams depart this offseason. While it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Los Angeles select Harrison, new general manager Joe Hortiz (from Baltimore) has shown an affinity for Notre Dame prospects like Ronnie Stanley and Kyle Hamilton. Combine that with the addition of new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and connections to Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt make all the sense in the world. Roman’s run-heavy offensive mentality makes tackle a bigger priority than receiver in the first round.

Wide receiver has been seen as less of a priority for the Bears after they acquired Allen in a trade from the Chargers. Still, drafting a top receiver prospect like LSU’s Malik Nabers or Washington’s Rome Odunze could give projected new quarterback Caleb Williams a strong trio of targets with Allen and D.J. Moore. Chicago could pair the draft’s QB1 with a potential WR1 as ESPN’s Matt Miller tells us that there are some teams in the NFL who see Nabers and Odunze as better prospects than Harrison. The three receivers are closer than people may think on most draft boards and their order of preference could come down to scheme and fit.

In Indianapolis, the Colts would love to bring in a first-round receiver for second-year quarterback Anthony Richardson. Josh Downs and Alec Pierce were decent options behind Michael Pittman Jr., but having a true weapon across the field could really help both Richardson and Pittman. If Harrison, Nabers, and Odunze find their way off the board by the time the Colts select at No. 15, LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. could fall into their lap, though Odunze could still be available if nobody takes a flyer on him as the best player available regardless of position.

At the back end of the first round, wide receiver has become a big need for the Bills after they watched Gabriel Davis depart in free agency and traded away Stefon Diggs to the Texans. Khalil Shakir now leads the position room, and though the top four receivers aren’t expected to be available by the 28th pick, pairing Shakir with Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, FSU’s Keon Coleman, or Florida’s Ricky Pearsall could be productive.

As for the 49ers and Chiefs in the last two picks of the draft, San Francisco is a bit of surprise inclusion after recently paying Deebo Samuel and still currently denying that Brandon Aiyuk is available via trade. Still, if Aiyuk is potentially on the way out, taking flyer on Mitchell, Coleman, or Pearsall could work out.

As for Kansas City, they’ve tried their fair share of veteran free agent additions for Patrick Mahomes, and will do so again with the addition of Brown this offseason, as well as some draft picks in the second round or later. We’ve seen the Chiefs have success with smaller wide receivers with speed, so bringing in Georgia’s Ladd McConkey, Michigan’s Roman Wilson, or Texas’ Xavier Worthy could make a lot of sense.

Whoever doesn’t hear their name called on the first night of the draft shouldn’t have to wait too long. Dane Brugler of The Athletic’s latest mock draft showed the Panthers selecting McConkey with their first pick of the draft, which will be the first pick of the second round. If McConkey is already off the board, Wilson and Worthy offer similar skill sets.

It’s a deep class for wide receivers this year. Top prospects like Harrison, Nabers, Odunze, and Thomas are considered no-brainers as first-round picks. An early run on those four could see many of the pass-catchers behind them find their way into the first round, as well. Even so, there are nearly 20 wideouts with a projected third-round grade or better. Not only is this a wide receiver class with lots of talent up top, but talent throughout will benefit teams who need receivers but will have to target other positions of need first.

WR Notes: Allen, Bolts, Colts, Bills, Browns, Falcons, Jets, Panthers, Saints, Bears

Nearly dealt to the Texans, Keenan Allen will soon team with D.J. Moore on the Bears. Only Malcom Floyd enjoyed a longer WR tenure with the Chargers, who surprised Allen (per’s Kris Rhim) by requesting a pay cut after a 1,243-yard season (career-high 95.1 per game). The process that ended with Allen shipped to Chicago for a fourth-round pick stunned the 11-year veteran, whose camp presented the Bolts with a counteroffer that would have made the 31-year-old talent one of the NFL’s highest-paid wideouts. The team quickly rejected that proposal, Rhim adds.

Cutting Mike Williams to move under the cap, the Chargers had already restructured the deals of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. The team asking Allen for a pay cut despite moving well under the salary ceiling surprised the wideout’s camp, per Rhim, though the Bolts wanted more room to work in free agency. Because of a 2023 restructure, Allen was due to count more than $34MM on Los Angeles’ cap. The Bears, who paid Allen’s $5MM roster bonus shortly after acquiring him, have the six-time Pro Bowler on the books at $23.1MM. As of now, Allen is due for free agency in 2025.

Shifting to the draft, here is the latest wide receiver news:

  • The Bills and Colts are taking a close look at this draft’s fastest player. Xavier Worthy recently visited Buffalo and is now in Indianapolis for a meeting, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Blazing to a Combine-record 4.21-second 40-yard dash, Worthy is coming off a 75-catch, 1,014-yard season. The ex-Texas speedster added 12 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2021. Buffalo certainly needs receiving help, after losing Gabe Davis in free agency and trading Stefon Diggs to Houston, while Indianapolis has been Michael Pittman Jr.-dependent for a while. The Colts did see intriguing rookie-year work from Josh Downs (771 yards), but the 5-foot-8 wideout profiles as a slot player.
  • Georgia wideout Ladd McConkey has now met with the Browns and Falcons, according to’s Ian Rapoport. McConkey has spoken with at least 14 teams, Rapoport adds. Several teams have placed a first-round grade on McConkey, who also fared well in his Combine 40 (4.39). The 5-foot-11 target took a backseat to Brock Bowers at Georgia, never eclipsing 800 yards in a season. While McConkey totaled 762 in 2022, that number came in 15 games. Debuting late because of a back injury last season, McConkey finished with just 30 catches for 478 yards. Viewed as a strong route runner with untapped potential, McConkey could be an outside or inside option for his NFL team.
  • The Jets, Panthers and Browns are among the teams to have hosted Oregon wideout Troy Franklin on a “30” visit,’s Mike Garafolo tweets. Franklin had previously met with the Bills and Patriots. Franklin broke through for a 1,383-yard season alongside Bo Nix last year; the 6-3 target should be on the radar as a second-round pick in this deep WR class.
  • The Saints are the latest team connected to Western Kentucky target Malachi Corley, Rapoport adds. Corley will make a Saturday trip to New Orleans for a “30” visit. The Saints made an effort to trade up in last year’s first round but did not make a major investment at receiver in the draft. They have since signed Stanley Morgan and Equanimeous St. Brown, but considering the Michael Thomas release, it would not surprise to see New Orleans make a bigger move in the draft. Corley is expected to be a second-round pick.
  • Bears GM Ryan Poles has broken the front office and coaching staff into pods debating the merits of choosing a wide receiver, tackle or defensive end at No. 9,’s Courtney Cronin notes. This makes for an interesting behind-the-curtain look for a team that has done some work on wideouts pre-draft. Worthy, Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze appeared on Chicago’s docket of “30” visits. Odunze or Nabers being available at 9 would certainly be tempting for the Bears, though the Allen trade provides the team some flexibility following Darnell Mooney‘s free agency exit.

Latest On First-Round WR Prospects

The top of the 2024 draft board features an intriguing trio of wideouts (Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze). While the order in which they will hear their names called is in question, there will be other prospects at the position who are selected on Day 1.

In the case of many of the top options in that regard, the pre-draft process has resulted in positive developments. LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr.for instance, has long been ranked as a first-round prospect. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman notes Thomas has impressed evaluators both on and off the field, something which will help his already high draft stock. The 6-3 junior posted 1,177 yards and an FBS-leading 17 touchdowns in 2023, flashing the potential to serve as a high-end secondary WR option (as he did playing alongside Nabers) at a minimum in the NFL.

Aside from the top four receiver prospects, several others have a strong chance of landing near the back end of the first round. Two candidates on that front are Texas’ Xavier Worthy and Georgia alum Ladd McConkey. Both of those wideouts have received first-round grades from a number of NFL teams, Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda reports.

Worthy broke the all-time 40-yard dash record during the 2024 Combine, posting a time of 4.21 seconds. Already known to be one of the top vertical threats in this year’s strong class, Pauline notes his Pro Day helped ease concerns about his all-around game translating to the pro level. In the case of McConkey, a faster-than-expected 40 time (4.39) has also helped his stock. Regarded as an elite route runner, the 5-11, 186-pounder will likely be destined to hold a slot role in the NFL but his floor is believed to be higher than most other prospects in the class.

Around the same time that Worthy and/or McConkey are selected, Adonai Mitchell could also very well come off the board. The latter spent his first two seasons at Georgia, making just 38 catches during that span. At transfer to Texas paved the way for a larger offensive role and a sharp increase in production, though; Mitchell posted 854 yards and 11 touchdowns on 55 receptions in 2023. Depending on how teams view him relative to other WR prospects in the same range, Mitchell could be the fifth wideout taken on Day 1.

Of course, a number of highly-regarded pass-catchers will still be available on Day 2. Pauline adds that Ricky Pearsall has seen his stock rise considerably in the lead-in to the draft. The Florida alum has received an early second-round grade from “several teams,” per Pauline and he could be one of many receivers added in the top 50 selections. As teams continue to evaluate the top options at every position over the coming days, receiver remains on track to be a very popular target throughout the top of this year’s draft.