WATCH: Jerry Jeudy Reacts to Ochocinco Revealing his Overall Madden 21 Rating
This is a first for yours truly. 2020 will be the eighth season I've covered the Denver Broncos. Never once, in all my years and the tens of thousands of articles I've published, have I ever written about Madden ratings.
It doesn't interest me. It's make-believe and low-hanging fruit. So why am I suddenly breaking precedent?
Perhaps it has something to do with how a pandemic has completely wiped out American sports since March. All fans have, for now, is make-believe.
That will soon change, with the NBA and MLB returning to their seasons this month and the NFL kicking off training camps on July 28. But with it being the dog days of the NFL summer, I've finally decided to rip the band-aid off and talk about Madden ratings.
Jerry Jeudy was the Broncos' first-round pick this year, drafted at No. 15 overall. He runs a 4.45-second 40 and brings elite-level route-running to the table.
Jeudy is also no slouch when it comes to simply being a dynamic threat with the ball in his hands, whether it be busting open a bubble screen or taking a short crossing route to the house by virtue of his open-field talents, strength, and elusiveness.
Combined with his prolific production at Alabama, surely all this would add up to an impressive Madden rating, right? Wrong.
Jeudy received a 75 overall rating. Thanks to a promotional video hosted by Chad 'Ochocinco' Johnson, fans got to see Jeudy's reaction to hearing his rating for Madden 21. (Happens at the 1:57 mark)
To me, although I'm no Madden expert, that's a solid rating considering that Jeudy has never stepped on an NFL field. Give him 2020 to ply his wares and show the league what he can do, and my guess is that that rating will climb in Madden 22.
Here's how the rest of Jeudy's ratings stack up.
Jeudy is yet to sign his rookie contract. It's likely due to the pandemic and how players have been prohibited from entering team facilities.
That'll change on July 21 when Jeudy and his fellow rookies will report for training camp. Camp kicks off exactly one week later, so if the Broncos want their premium draft pick on the field with the team, they'd better get Jeudy signed.
Last year's No. 15 overall pick — Washington QB Dwayne Haskins — signed a slotted four-year deal worth $14.416 million. That deal came with a $8.5M signing bonus.
Jeudy will be a millionaire within a few weeks' time. And thanks to the new NFL CBA, if he plays really well over the next four years and out-plays his contract — like, say, earning a couple of Pro Bowl nods in the first three years — he would have the potential to get a serious raise by virtue of the fifth-year option.
If the Broncos were to pick up Jeudy's fifth-year option four years from now, and he had in the interim earned a couple of Pro Bowls, that fifth-year contract would balloon to the price of the franchise tag.
NFL teams will try to maneuver around that with their first-round picks who out-play their rookie deals by getting them extended earlier, as opposed to waiting until Year 5 to start even talking about it. Since 2011, teams almost religiously utilized the fifth-year option on their productive first-rounders because even though it came with a raise for the player, it wasn't at the value of a franchise tag and it kept the player under team control for an additional year.
The new CBA gives first-rounders on their rookie contracts a little more power, if they're productive. Let's say Jeudy goes on to make two Pro Bowls in his first three seasons but the Broncos look ahead and decide they don't want to pay him wide receiver franchise tag money in Year 5.
That would mean that either 1.) Jeudy hits the open market as a high-profile player after Year 4, thus opening himself up to greater earnings earlier or 2.) the Broncos would have to come to the table with an extension sooner than in Year 5. For those first-rounders who out-play their rookie deals, it's a modest endowment of power compared to those players drafted 2011-19.
Will Jeudy make two Pro Bowls in the next three years? The odds say no but with how stacked the Broncos offense is, if Drew Lock ends up being the truth, and OC Pat Shurmur ends up being the right man for the job, it's definitely plausible.