2. Jeremy Maclin (Eagles)
Jeremy Maclin, like Randall Cobb, is another player with former ties to Chiefs’ brass. He’s one of only two receivers head coach Andy Reid ever drafted in the top round of the draft (the other being former Chief Freddie Mitchell). Maclin also had a breakout year in 2014, crossing the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in five NFL seasons. This will be the second straight offseason where Maclin will be linked to Kansas City. There was some thought that he’d be a target of the Chiefs in 2014 before he signed a one-year deal with the Eagles in early-February. Maclin has the perfect skill set for this offense and has familiarity with Reid’s offensive system. In sheer terms of fit, he may be the most attractive option at wide receiver on the free agent market this year.
3. Michael Crabtree (49ers)
When Alex Smith arrived in Kansas City, I distinctly recall having conversations about how he’d held Michael Crabtree back while he was the starter in San Francisco. I suppose that’s at least partially true. Crabtree’s two longest grabs of the 2012 season came from Colin Kaepernick passes. There’s no debating that he has the better arm, but I’m not sure that’s ever the only thing that factors into a receiver’s productivity. Crabtree’s been a shell of himself since Alex Smith departed the Bay Area (I’m oversimplifying). That’s one of the reasons why he’s such an intriguing option for the Chiefs. His numbers over the past two seasons will keep his contract demands reasonable. He’s a first-round talent whose career could be aided by new scenery. Having familiarity with Alex Smith is a bonus. I’d keep my eye on Crabtree. The Chiefs are unlikely to make a number of big contract signings in free agency so he could be just the kind of upgrade they can afford come March.
4. Eddie Royal (Chargers)
Eddie Royal has already made his way through two of the AFC West’s four teams. Could his next stop be in Kansas City? He’s more of a No. 2 receiver than the other three receivers on this list, but the Chiefs will need bodies there with recent news of Donnie Avery’s release. If any team knows that Royal can still help an offense stretch the field it’s the Chiefs. In two regular season contests last year, he caught 5 balls for 115 yards (an eye-popping 23 yards per catch). Royal certainly won’t be the answer if Bowe’s cut, but he can play a valuable role in Kansas City’s receiving corps. He’ll be another option who won’t break the bank at the position.
Continue to Page 3 for the next position group on my list.