Jeremy Maclin the upgrade, or the red flag?
On June 2nd, an intriguing name for the Ravens hit the thin free agent market when the Kansas City Chiefs cut ties with their top wide receiver, Jeremy Maclin. This coming after he participated in five OTA workouts with the Chiefs. Kansas City calls this a salary cap move. Maclin was to cost $12.4M against the salary cap. They waited until after June 1 in order to split the dead money across the 2017 and 18’ seasons. Turns out for 2017 they will pay $2.4M in dead money, saving roughly $10M in cap space.
However, cuts can be made prior to June 1 and designated as post-June 1 to allow for the dead money splits. So if this was a salary cap decision, why did the Chiefs let him participate in five OTAs where if he suffers a season ending injury, Maclin is then owed $10M in salary, under his contract?
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The Ravens have suffered two season ending injuries in their voluntary workouts. Tavon Young will miss 2017 with a torn ACL, and Dennis Pitta for a third time dislocated his hip and was subsequently released. Why would the Chiefs take this risk when there are measures the league puts in place so teams don’t have to take this risk, if they need salary cap relief?
Let’s look at Jeremy Maclin’s injury history:
2006 – Torn right ACL in college during offseason practice. Missed the entire season
2013 – Torn right ACL in Eagles training camp, missed the entire season
2014 – Hamstring injury causes him to miss the entire pre-season
2015 – Left a game and missed another with concussion symptoms
2016 – Injured his groin in mid-week practice, missed four games in total after re-aggravating it
A lot of injuries coming from practice which we know is pretty soft these days. A lot of soft tissue injuries which can continue to linger. Why would the Chiefs take this risk? Do they know something we don’t? Do they simply operate like the Patriots and opt to cut a player in their mind one year early rather than one year late?
It’s not as if Kansas City is stacked at the position. Their best receiver is a tight end, Travis Kelce. Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, and Albert Wilson top the depth chart making them, believe or not, weaker at receiver than the Ravens might be. Even as explosive as Hill was as a rookie, he still might be a better gadget type player rather than every down player they may think he can be.
Maclin has drawn interest from the Cleveland Browns. This week he visited with the Buffalo Bills and LeSean McCoy is lobbying for his team to sign his former teammate. Maclin put out a Tweet last night that he was watching Game 3 of the NBA Finals with Ravens Safety Eric Weddle. Maclin today is in the Ravens headquarters where he posted a selfie with Steve Smith. A couple of strong recruiters there in Weddle and Smith. Not to mention that Maclin has played under current Ravens Offensive Coordinator, Marty Mornhinwheg, during his years in Philadelphia.
The Eagles are not interested in bringing Maclin back to Philly.
Maclin, just 29 years old and becoming the top free agent option this late in the game, will likely not stay on the open market very long. Of course this depends on the contract negotiations. The Ravens have roughly $5.6M in cap space as of today.
In 2016, Maclin caught 44 passes for 536 yards and two touchdowns over 12 games last season while bothered by the groin injury at times. In the two years prior, he combined for 172 catches for 2,406 yards and 18 touchdowns.
At Chiefs fan blog, Arrowhead Pride, nearly 8,000 votes were cast on whether or not the move to release Maclin was the right one. It shows that 70% of Chiefs fans are not in favor of the move, wish to still have Maclin and the $12.4M cap hit on the roster. What do the Ravens fans say? Yay or nor nay on Jeremy Maclin?