Tyreek Hill’s presence is why Jeremy Maclin was let go

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: Tyreek Hill
SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: Tyreek Hill /
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Bucky Brooks of NFL.com writes that Tyreek Hill’s presence made Jeremy Maclin expendable for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Kansas City Chiefs surprised the NFL nearly two weeks ago when they released their No. 1 wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. The wideout sat atop the Chiefs depth chart ever since he arrived two offseasons ago, having signed a five-year deal in free agency for $55 million overall, so the fact that the Chiefs would cut him outright was a shock to fans and NFL analysts alike. But Bucky Brooks of NFL.com says that the move actually makes sense because of the presence of another player: Tyreek Hill.

Hill was the Chiefs fifth round choice last year and became an immediate force on special teams and offense as the fastest player in the NFL. He caught 61 passes for 593 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also rushed another24 times for 267 yards and 3 more touchdowns. And let’s not forget his 3 return touchdowns as well, 2 via punt returns.

Brooks says that in Andy Reid’s offense, Maclin actually presents more of what his offense demands from the Z receiver spot than Maclin, so paying the former Missouri product something north of $12 million simply doesn’t make sense.

"With that in mind, I understand why the Chiefs would want more from the player manning the spotlight position on the perimeter. The “Z” receiver is supposed to have game-breaker qualities (speed, explosiveness and running skills) that encourage the play caller to craft a variety of plays designed to take advantage of his skills. Not to mention, the flexibility of the position allows the offensive coordinator to put him on the move (motion) or in the slot to create mismatches on the perimeter."

Reid has said before that Hill is definitely going to be incorporated more into the offense in 2017 so clearing the snaps and position for him follows that plan. It still doesn’t mean that releasing Maclin is any less surprising, but perhaps fans can at least understand some scheme reasoning behind the financial aspect as well.