Plagued by a group of wide receivers that failed to catch a single touchdown pass in 2014, the Kansas City Chiefs continued the process of upgrading the position by agreeing to a contract with Jeremy Maclin worth a reported $11-million per year.
In Kansas City, Maclin will be reunited with former Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid, who led the Eagles during the first four years of Maclin’s career and was primarily responsible for the team selecting him in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL Draft. The acquisition of Maclin continues the Chiefs makeover at wide receiver following the release of Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins. Kansas City is expected to release Dwayne Bowe in the coming days rather than commit to his 2015 salary of $11-million.
After missing all of the 2013 season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Maclin signed a one-year contract with the Eagles for the 2014 season and wound up finishing the season with career highs in receptions (85) and yards (1,318) while matching his previous career high in touchdowns (10).
With Maclin leaving, it will mark the second consecutive season that the team’s leading wide receiver has left the team despite coming off a career year. DeSean Jackson was released following the 2013 season despite setting career highs in receptions and receiving yards while matching his career high in touchdowns.
Prior to the 2014 season, Maclin bet big on himself, choosing to accept a one-year, $5.5-million contract from the Eagles rather than sign a more lucrative long-term deal. He won that bet as his solid production resulted in the contract offer from Kansas City that is expected to be for five years.
While he chose to accept more money from the Chiefs rather than return to Philadelphia, you could certainly make the case that there are overwhelming odds that he will not match his 2014 production this season in Kansas City. In fact, you could make the argument that there aren’t many teams that Maclin would have been worse off joining in terms of his fantasy prospects.
While Reid is a creative offensive game planner, he has rarely ever showered a wide receiver with a high number of targets, and quarterback Alex Smith refuses to throw the ball into heavy traffic. The odds of Maclin reaching the top 10 as a fantasy wide receiver in 2015 are pretty much nil, regardless of the fact the Chiefs depth chart at wide receiver is barren.
Remember that both running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Travis Kelce are expected to receive a healthy dose of targets next season. It won’t surprise if Charles, Kelce and Maclin have similar reception totals.
If that happens, Maclin will be hard pressed to emerge as anything more than a mid to lower tier WR2 during his first year in Kansas City.