History shows Ladd McConkey's historic Chargers deal will pay off instantly

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Chargers put pen to paper with the last remaining unsigned rookie from the 2024 draft class on Monday, signing second-round pick Ladd McConkey to a four-year deal. McConkey made history with his contract as the Chargers gave him the most guaranteed money in NFL history for the 34th overall pick.

The Chargers have been in love with McConkey throughout the entire process. Los Angeles traded up several spots in the first round to draft him after taking offensive tackle Joe Alt in the second round. With a depleted wide receiver room around him, it is imperative that McConkey lives up to this support from his team.

Whether intentional or not, the Chargers also just placed loftier expectations on the second-round rookie. McConkey didn't just make history with his contract but he surpassed the bar that was set by an elite pass-catcher who was a Pro Bowler in his first season: Sam LaPorta.

Chargers place Pro Bowl expectations on Ladd McConkey with historic deal

Obviously, there is more to McConkey's deal than just his rookie season. If he is not named to the Pro Bowl in 2024, at an extremely loaded position in the AFC, then it is not the end of the world and it won't suddenly be a bad pick for the Chargers.

But by doing this, the Chargers are showing immense buy-in on McConkey and just raised everyone's expectations about what he is capable of. It is clear that the Chargers feel as if they landed a first-round receiver in the second round and are acting accordingly.

McConkey doesn't just need to play well to justify this commitment from the Bolts but also by necessity. If the Chargers' offense is going to be successful in 2024, even as a run-heavy offense, then McConkey is going to need to produce a high output.

The pressure is now on. If McConkey can go out and prove his team right then he will be one of the most enticing rookie receivers in the league and will cement himself as a reliable weapon for Justin Herbert in the years to come.

But if McConkey struggles out of the gate then there will suddenly be a lot of questions about the high dollar figure (comparatively) the Chargers are guaranteeing him. That criticism won't be totally fair, but it certainly will happen.