Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has agreed to a lucrative free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs that will average 11 million per season. The deal will become official on March 10 at 4 pm when the official start date of the 2015 NFL season begins.
While I believe this is an excellent signing by the Chiefs, it could be disastrous for Maclin. He is leaving a high-octane offense where he had plenty of opportunities to catch balls and make plays.
In Kansas City, Maclin will be reunited with former coach Andy Reid and his former offense. This sounds like a match made in heaven, but Maclin’s new quarterback is Alex Smith who is known more for his short passes than going deep downfield which is one of Maclin’s strengths.
Maclin caught 85 passes last season for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns while no Chiefs wide receiver caught a touchdown all last season. According to reports, the Eagles were offering Maclin $10 million a year over five years. For a contract that was not much lower than what was offered by Kansas City, Maclin should have returned to the Eagles where it was almost automatic he would put up similar, if not better, numbers to last season. Those numbers will be very tough to match catching balls from Smith who is an efficient game manager.
Maclin was one of the top free agent wide receivers set to hit the open market on March 10, and I was extremely surprised the Eagles did not secure his services for the upcoming season by placing the franchise tag on him while they worked on a long-term contract. Maybe Maclin felt betrayed by Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly for exposing him to the open market. He also might not have been a big fan of the direction the Eagles were headed after LeSean McCoy was traded to the Buffalo Bills last week.
Regardless of the reason, Maclin may regret his decision to sign with the Chiefs. Although Maclin will be the Chiefs’ number one receiver after incumbent Dwayne Bowe is cut in what is expected to be a salary cap move, his days of making the Pro Bowl seem long gone. You can’t fault a player for wanting to hit bank after their contract ends and he is hitting his prime, but Maclin chose to leave because the Chiefs offered the most. Do not be surprised to see Maclin’s numbers drop drastically next season and be viewed as a free agent bust.
Kansas City needed to bring in a player of Maclin’s caliber, but would be wise to upgrade the quarterback position as well to maximize Maclin’s talents.
Players like DeMarco Murray and other top free agents need to keep destination in mind just as much as money when deciding where to play next season. If Murray goes to a hapless team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, his stats will go down and last year’s season will be viewed as a player who benefited from a great offensive line.
And that’s…as I see it!
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Scott D. Mikulski