Maclin was a big free-agent signing of the Chiefs prior to the 2015 season — five years, $55 million — and he delivered with the franchise’s highest reception total (87) since 2008, became the first 1,000-yard receiver (1,088) in four years and scored a team-high eight touchdowns.
But last season, hampered by a groin injury that caused him to miss four games and limited him to a reduced role, Maclin turned in more modest totals. He tied for third on the team in receptions with 44 and third in receiving yards with 536.
This move has a financial aspect to it. Maclin was due to make $10 million this season, so the Chiefs save that money. But even with the big 2015 season signing him proved to be costly on more than one level, as the Chiefs were found guilty of tampering by contacting that year. The violation cost the Chiefs their third-round pick in the 2016 draft, plus a sixth-rounder in 2017.
“I’d like to thank Jeremy for his effort and dedication the past two seasons,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said. “I have great respect for all players, which makes decisions like these very difficult, but we felt it was in the best interest of our club moving forward to part ways at this time. We wish Jeremy the best as he continues his career.”
“These decisions are never easy, especially with a player like Jeremy who I’ve grown close with on and off the football field over the years,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “I have a lot of respect for the way he goes about his business and how he handles himself as a professional. I wish him the best of luck moving forward.”
Maclin, who turned 29 in May, was married a few weeks ago, and Reid, quarterback Alex Smith and several other teammates attended. He went to college at Mizzou, a mere two hours east of Kansas City.
Even outside the move happening so close to Maclin’s birthday and wedding — hey, this is a business, after all — the timing was odd.
Yes, Maclin was a post-June 1 cut, which alleviates the salary cap hit this year, but they could have let him go sooner — three months ago, in fact — and designated him as such and achieved the same cap savings. It’s not as if there is any free agent worth spending dollar-for-dollar money on to help at this point, but the team needed the cap space immediately and couldn’t even sign their top three draft picks until a move of some kind was made.
A team such as the Baltimore Ravens might be interested in adding a player with Maclin’s skills, but there could be some suitors.
The Chiefs figure to have big roles in mind for wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, but who else will catch passes? Chris Conley and Demarcus Robinson are entering their third and second seasons, respectively, and could help offset the loss. The team also has Albert Wilson, who has started 19 games in three seasons, and intriguing tight end Demetrius Harris.
The Chiefs did not draft a receiver until Round 4 this year, Michigan’s Jehu Chesson. They also added three undrafted receivers — Alabama’s Gehrig Dieter, Hawaii’s Marcus Kemp and Nebraska’s Alonzo Moore.
The 6-foot, 198-pound Maclin has played in 102 career games (100 starts) in eight NFL seasons with the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, who drafted him in Round 1 in 2009. For his career, Maclin has 474 catches for 6,395 yards (13.5 avg.) with 46 touchdowns.
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