Friday, February 7, 2014
Report: Jets interested in Eagles' Maclin
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles would have loved having wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in coach Chip Kelly's offense in 2013. And they certainly would like to have Maclin back, fully recovered from his ACL tear, in 2014.
The issue was always going to be whether the soon-to-be free agent was overwhelmed by an offer from another team. According to a report in the New York Daily News, that could very well happen.
In a weak free-agent class for receivers, Jeremy Maclin could be a hot commodity.
Jets beat writer Manish Mehta reported Friday that Maclin and Pittsburgh's Emmanuel Sanders are on the Jets' radar. New York had the No. 31 ranked passing offense in the NFL last season and is expected to part ways with Santonio Holmes to clear $8.25 million in salary-cap space.
Maclin would probably be a good fit in Kelly's system. But he knows for sure he would excel under Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. The same is true of former Eagles head coach Andy Reid in Kansas City.
So if Maclin has to settle for a one-year, prove-it contract to show he can return to his pre-injury form, he might feel more confident in an offense he's already had success in.
And if the Jets, Chiefs or another team in need of a receiver -- New England? Carolina? -- are willing to give Maclin a longer-term deal, he might just go for the security. He's still only 25, but two ACL surgeries have given him a keen sense of how quickly a career can be short-circuited.
With few elite receivers on the market this year, teams may be more willing to take a bit of a risk with Maclin -- especially teams with coaches who already have a relationship with him.
It's worth pointing out that the risk isn't nearly as daunting as it once was. The state of the art in repairing and rehabbing ACL injuries is very good.
While teams like the Jets might see a desperate need for Maclin's services, the Eagles' viewpoint is a little different. They did very well on offense without him in 2013. Riley Cooper, who is also on the brink of free agency, emerged as a legitimate weapon. DeSean Jackson remains a big-play threat.
By re-signing Cooper and bringing veteran Jason Avant back, the Eagles could have the same core group of receivers that combined for 167 receptions, 2,614 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Would Maclin make that group better? No doubt. But would he make it better by enough of a margin to outbid the Jets or another team for his services? And what about the possibility of getting a big-bodied receiver like Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin in the draft?
Those considerations don't even begin to address what Kelly might have in mind for his tight ends, especially Zach Ertz. Ertz was getting more playing time, often at the expense of Avant, in the last month of the season.
All things being equal, the Eagles would like to see what Maclin can do in Kelly's offense. But if all things aren't equal, and if a market develops for Maclin, the Eagles are in a position to move on.