The biggest surprise of the off season came on June 2 when the Chiefs released Jeremy Maclin. Coming off a down 2016 season, there were rumblings that Maclin could be a cap casualty during the offseason, but then he made it through OTAs and minicamp after the Chiefs had made all the big free agent signings they were going to make. Everyone assumed he was safe. Well, we were all wrong and fans were not happy. The former Mizzou star has been a local hero for nearly a decade and to see him get cut, by a voicemail no less, was something nobody really understood. But the Chiefs clearly didn’t think Maclin was healthy, that 2016 wasn’t a fluke, and he was on the downside of his career, especially at a cap hit of $12.4 million.
Maclin wasn’t on the market for long as the Baltimore Ravens signed him less than two weeks later to a two-year, $11 million contract. He started the season off strong, hauling in six catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games. He hit a cold spell following that, however. Over the next three games, he only totaled 10 catches for 72 yards and zero touchdowns. Following that bad stretch Maclin missed two games due to an injured shoulder, but he returned since then to his early season success. Over the next two games, he had 11 receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. Maclin’s shoulder flared up again after the Ravens Week 9 win over the Tennessee Titansm but he made it through the bye week and isn’t listed on the injury report this week.
Maclin has had a solid season for the Ravens. He’s caught 27 of 42 targets for 310 yards and three touchdowns. He’s only averaging 11.5 yards per reception which is the lowest of his career and almost a full yard worse than last season. Maclin is on pace to finish the season with 48 catches for 551 yards and 5 touchdowns. That would be a career low in yards and near career lows in catches and touchdowns in a pretty pass happy offense. The injury bug has bitten Maclin yet again and he clearly has lost a step. However he still has reliable hands and experience.
Maclin clearly wasn’t worth the contract the Chiefs had him on, and his lack of speed isn’t something the Chiefs needed heading into this year. Obviously with the injuries to Chris Conley and Albert Wilson, the depth would have been nice, but that wasn’t predictable before the year.
All three of these fan favorites are getting plenty of playing time and look productive in 2017. But none of the three are near the peaks of their careers. I think it’s clear the Chiefs made the right move by letting all three of these players walk. While they all three would have added depth in what has turned into an injury plagued season, they were too expensive to keep as simple insurance policies.