It’s becoming quite clear that despite missing the entire season, Jeremy Maclin is going to be one of the more coveted wide receivers in the upcoming free agency period, as the Philadelphia Eagles will have a difficult time retaining him with interest coming from the New York Jets, New York Giants, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and the Oakland Raiders.
The Jets are interested in Maclin, but not him alone, to give their awful receiving corps something of a boost. But they aren’t the only team out to improve their passing game. The Giants got OK seasons from Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, but nothing out of the ordinary, and they aren’t likely to re-sign Nicks, who is expecting a very big pay day. Maclin caught 69 passes for 857 yards in 2012 and the rumors suggest he’s bouncing back from his injury just fine.
The Panthers are in the same boat, trying to give Cam Newton someone to pass to, as he was quite limited all through the season with his passing options. The Indianapolis Colts struggled without Reggie Wayne, who isn’t getting any younger, while not having much except for T.Y. Hilton as a reliable target for Andrew Luck. The Raiders? Anything is going to be a plus for the Raiders.
The Chiefs are also an interesting option considering it is Andy Reid coaching them. Maclin did well in Reid’s system before his injury last July, and Alex Smith needs more than what he has right now: Jamaal Charles was his busiest receiver, and Dwayne Bowe with 673 yards came after him. The Chiefs don’t have any rising talents among the receiving crops, so adding someone through free agency, as long as the price is right, seems crucial for them to duplicate their success.
Where do Philly fit in? Maclin doesn’t want a minimum deal, and he’ll probably get more than that. The problem for the Eagles is their salary cap, which limits their ability to offer Maclin any money, and probably lose in any kind of bidding war for the wide receiver, who’ll be only 26 in May.