The Kansas City Chiefs decided to part ways with their top receiver Jeremy Maclin last Friday, a move that was most likely made to clear up some cap space.
The receiver was due $10 million and cutting him before the season is expected to save the Chiefs $5 million in cap space. The move was most likely made to give young receivers Tyreke Hill and Chris Conley more chances this year with them being so effective in limited rep last year. Plus, the Chiefs have had winnings seasons without star receivers.
Maclin only caught 44 passes last year for 536 rec. yards and two touchdowns, which was his worst season of his career. But let’s not forget he played with Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith who is notorious for throwing a majority of the time to tight ends and checking it down to running backs.
For the rest of the league, Maclin could be a huge late offseason addition that boosts an average team into a playoff team, or boost a playoff team to a Super Bowl contending team.
Whether Maclin wants to chase the money or a ring, here are some potential landing spots for Maclin before training camp starts.
San Francisco 49ers – Chase the money
The 49ers have the most cap space of any team entering the 2017 NFL season and using some of that money to bring on Maclin would be a smart decision. Maclin could sign a contract that would be significantly higher than the $10 million he was getting in Kansas City. The only down side to that is he would be playing for a rebuilding 49ers team with either Brian Hoyer or Matt Barkley throwing him the ball.
Tennessee Titans – Chase the money/Playoff contention
The Titans just missed winning the AFC South division title last year and also have the third highest cap space entering the season so this could be a win-win for both teams. Marcus Mariota through his first few seasons of his career has shown a lot of potential working with average and sub-par receivers. Maclin would be the best receiver Mariota has played with and pair him with Rishard Mathews and rookie Corey Davis, and AFC South defensive backs could be in trouble. The Titans could give Maclin not only a raise, but a chance to compete in the playoffs again.
New Orleans Saints – Playoff contention
The Saints traded away their #1 receiver Brandin Cooks this offseason which leaves Michael Thomas and Willie Snead as the best receivers for Drew Brees to throw to. New Orleans happened to sign veteran running back Adrian Peterson this offseason that should give the Saints a very good running game. Insert Maclin into that offense and the Saints could immediately be a top 5 offense once again. And with a much improved defense, the Saints could fight their way through a tough NFC South division with a wild card spot. Maclin would most likely have to take a slight pay cut from $10 million, but in return he would get a chance to play with future hall of famer Brees and make a run in the playoffs.
Arizona Cardinals – Playoff contention
The Cardinals missed the playoffs last year but have been among the best teams in the NFC the past three to four years. An addition of Jeremy Maclin to the offense would immediately put them back in that spot and in the playoffs once again. John Brown had a very poor year last season. Larry Fitzgerald is still putting up great numbers, but at his age, how long can he keep it up? Maclin would take a huge load off of Fitzgerald’s shoulders and should open the deep passing game up for Brown and Carson Palmer with a lot more one-on-one coverage. To go along with that, the Cardinals have the money to give Maclin a slight raise in salary as well.
Buffalo Bills – The Reunion
Maclin’s former teammate Lesean McCoy has already stated that he has been recruiting the new free agent wide receiver to come to Buffalo. Sammy Watkins has been very good when on the field, but he has dealt with his fair share of injuries the past couple of seasons. The team did draft explosive receiver Zay Jones out of East Carolina Univeristy and signed Philly Brown and Andre Holmes in free agency this offseason, but that is not a receiving core that will scare too many defenses. Signing Maclin would be a huge boost for Tyrod Taylor and the offense, and with just over $12 million in cap space this year, Buffalo has the money to do it.
Carolina Panthers – Playoff contention
The Panthers have been making noise this offseason with improvements to the offense and have the cap space to do more. They drafted two running back/slot receiver hybrids in Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel that will open up the middle of the field, screen game and check downs for the offense. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess are both big bodied possession receivers that excel in the red zone but do not open up the deep passing game for Cam Newton. With Ted Ginn Jr gone, Maclin would be a nice upgrade and would make the Panthers passing game more well-rounded. Add that to a very good defense, and who knows, the Panthers could find themselves returning to the Super Bowl again like they did in 2016.
Seattle Seahawks – Chase the ring
The Seahawks have continuosly succeeded in the playoffs with Russell Wilson working his magic with no-name receivers. Sure, Doug Baldwin has emerged as the Seahawks main target but Maclin could immediately come in and ramp up this offense to its full potential. The Legion of Boom has not been as dominant as it was in team’s first two trips to the Suepr Bowl, so they are going to have to rely on Wilson and company to produce more than ever. Maclin would have to take a $2-$3 million paycut but, outside of the Houston Texans (who don’t have a proven quarterback), the Seahawks are the only playoff team last year that have a need at the receiver position.