The Philadelphia Eagles Should Stay Away from Jeremy Maclin [Opinion]

Former Kansas City Chiefs’ wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was released by the team late Friday night and has been the talk of many NFL rumors over this past weekend. Maclin signed a five-year, $55 million contract back in 2015 with hopes to save the Kansas City receiving core, who had zero touchdowns in 2014. During his first season with the team, Maclin proved worthy of the contract totaling 87 receptions for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns. In the 2016 season, Maclin did not achieve nearly as much success with the team mostly due to a groin injury. Maclin totaled just 44 receptions for 536 yards, and two touchdowns in 12 games played.

Disregarding his poor play last season, the Chiefs proved once again that there is no loyalty in football and that business always prevails when it came to receiver Jeremy Maclin. The team had a decision to make regarding his hefty contract and decided it would be best to release Maclin and save themselves $10 million against the cap heading into next season. With Maclin now an unrestricted free agent, many people have kicked around the idea of him returning to his original team in the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jeremy Maclin spent his first six seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles after being drafted 19th overall in 2009. During that time, Maclin accumulated 343 receptions for 4,771 yards and 36 touchdowns. Maclin was even offered a contract upwards of $10 million a year from Philadelphia but also showed no loyalty and returned home to Missouri to play for $1 million more under Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid. Andrew Kulp of CSN Philly wrote about the recent rumors regarding Jeremy Maclin and gave his argument as to why fans should not expect a reunion between him and Philadelphia.

“Coming from somebody who was critical of the Eagles when they allowed Maclin to depart as a free agent in 2015, I don’t see the need or understand the desire to bring him back. Sometimes, the one that got away is gone for a reason.”

The Chiefs certainly did not do Jeremy Maclin any favors by releasing him in June because most teams in the NFL are finished with signing free agents at this point in the offseason and do not have much wiggle room left with their cap space. The Philadelphia Eagles allocated most of their free agent money to the wide receiver position this offseason when they signed receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. According to Over the Cap, the Eagles now have just over $3 million remaining in available money, which does not seem like enough to afford the services of Jeremy Maclin. The teams’ only option would be to release some veteran players or restructure a few contracts to make room for some immediate money.

The last reason that a reunion between Maclin and the Eagles does not make sense is the lack of availability on the Eagles depth chart for another receiver. Jeffery and Smith are the clear outside starters at receiver while Jordan Matthews will be the slot receiver heading into the 2017 season. Behind him, the Eagles still have former first round pick Nelson Agholar as the fourth receiver, who will be paid whether or not he is on the team next season. The only possible way to make room for Jeremy Maclin on this Eagles’ team is to release or trade Jordan Matthews. Matthews is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will hit the free agent market next year if the two sides do not agree to a new deal during the upcoming season.

The only problem with this scenario is that Jeremy Maclin is 29-years-old and has likely hit his ceiling as a receiver in the NFL, while Jordan Matthews will be 25 by the start of the 2017 NFL season and will arguably be playing with his best receiving core since entering the league in 2009. Although Maclin’s name may be attractive for a young quarterback like Carson Wentz, the team cannot afford to mortgage their future on an aging number two receiver at this point in his career.

[Featured Image by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images]