Whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles re-sign WR Jeremy Maclin will be a hot topic once free agency begins. The popular thought is that he will sign a one-year “prove it” deal and look to cash in next offseason if he can put up good numbers in Chip Kelly’s offense.
My initial thought is that’s exactly right: If Maclin re-signs for a year, he will definitely have to prove himself.
First, he now has torn the ACL in the same knee twice. Granted, they used a cadaver ligament to repair it the first time and then used his patella tendon to repair it the second time (which apparently makes a difference), he still tore the same ligament twice.
For a player whose impact will rely on speed and cutting ability, it’ll be a wait-and-see on how well his knee has recovered.
With that said, that’s not even the real reason I have mixed feelings about bringing him back. There’s just something about his demeanor that I don’t particularly care for.
I’m not saying he’s a “bad guy” or anything of the nature. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and I can’t really put my finger on it. There’s just something that bugs me about him and because of it, I can’t fully embrace him.
There’s no question he has produced some good games over his young career. In addition, his yearly stat lines have been solid, if unspectacular. His best season statistically was in 2010 when he caught 70 passes for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns.
While his stats resume shows that he’s been a consistent contributor, they don’t jump out at you. Not even his best season raises an eyebrow. He’s a solid receiver, but not a special one.
However, the Eagles don’t necessarily need a “special” receiver since DeSean Jackson fills that role. Jackson may be small, but he has special ability with his speed and play-making skills. Therefore, Maclin should serve as a good complimentary receiver.
With that said, here’s what bugs me…
It’s his mannerisms on the field. If you’ve ever really watched him during games and on the practice fields, he has this slow, take-your-time strut back to the huddle. He also has an annoying habit of looking for a penalty flag after every incomplete pass that comes his way.
Maclin also seems to limp off the field during games with a minor injury (but does return). He does it often enough for me to take notice and mention it here. If you remember Jevon Kearse, you know what I’m talking about with that.
Hell, he once injured his groin while celebrating a touchdown catch with a teammate.
It’s also the fact that he appears to avoid contact at times. Here’s an article from 2012 that sums it up perfectly. Though Maclin “laughed off” the notion he avoids contact, the proof is in the pudding!
I realize that’s easy for me to say, I’m not the one out there taking these hits. But hey, that’s what he gets paid handsomely to do.
Maclin also earned the entertaining nickname of “self-tacklin’ Jeremy Maclin” (coined by Jimmy Kempski) due to his habit of going down early before contact is initiated. He just seems to be the kind of receiver that goes down quickly after the catch, or catches a ton of passes as he’s going to the ground.
I’m not calling Maclin “soft” or think he’s a “wuss”, I’m just saying these are things that bother me about him…right, wrong, or indifferent. It’s my perception of him and it’s why I have mixed feelings about him as a Philadelphia Eagle.
If he re-signs, one of the things he’ll have to do is prove his toughness. Break a tackle once in a while or put a good lick on someone while blocking. Actually, blocking will be an area where he will certainly have to prove himself to Kelly.
Kelly expects his receivers to be physical and be good blockers. Jackson showed willingness and improvement this past season in this area and Riley Cooper is an excellent blocker. Maclin will have to show the same ability if he wants to stay in Philly for the long term.
On one hand, I’ll be happy to see Maclin back in 2014. It would be interesting to see what he and Jackson could do as a tandem in Kelly’s offense. It would also lessen the need to spend significant resources on this position by way of an early draft pick or free agent pick-up.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t be disappointed if he didn’t re-sign. His spot would be better filled with a bigger, more physical type of player with a higher upside. To me, he just doesn’t bring anything to the table that isn’t relatively easily replaceable.
Ultimately, it’s not that I don’t want Maclin back, it’s more that I’m indifferent about whether or not he does come back.
On a side note, the market for Maclin should be interesting. It’s possible that he could reunite with Andy Reid in Kansas City. It’s also possible he could be lured up to New England for the chance to play with Tom Brady.
There are some receiver-needy teams out there who think they’re just a player or two away from a championship run. Maclin could have multiple suitors, even with his status as coming off an injury.
At this point, taking a one-year deal with the Eagles seems like the odds-on favorite. But, it’s far from a sure thing.