In a surprise move, the wide receiver-needy Kansas City Chiefs waived Jeremy Maclin. Despite the fact that Maclin was one of the few playmakers on the Kansas City offense, the Chiefs cut him in a salary cap-saving move. That will leave the Chiefs with Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley along with Travis Kelce. Since Alex Smith really doesn’t take too many shots down the field, I suppose this move may not be felt as much as it would for most quarterbacks. Perhaps Patrick Mahomes should hope that he holds the clipboard for a season, and maybe the Chiefs will go after some playmakers in 2018.
The question remains, where will Maclin land? Despite a long season in 2016, due to injuries and ineffective quarterback play, Maclin is just a season removed from putting up big numbers at the wide receiver position. At age 29, he may not have five or six big years left in him, but should likely have at least a couple, especially depending on where he signs. While anything can happen in the NFL, I see a few teams as being the most likely fits for Maclin.
- The Buffalo Bills have already scheduled the first free agent meeting with Maclin, possibly thanks to recruiting from LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor. With Sammy Watkins often injured and the Bills not picking up his fifth year option, Maclin could serve as the No. 1 WR in Buffalo in 2017, and potentially become the main option in 2018.
- The Baltimore Ravens have made a habit out of signing veteran wide receivers. Steve Smith and Anquan Boldin both worked out well for the Ravens, and Maclin would certainly provide an instant upgrade for Joe Flacco.
- The Cleveland Browns could always use more help at wide receiver, especially after watching Terrelle Pryor go to the Washington Redskins, Corey Coleman is unproven and also injury prone, so Maclin could help out whichever quarterback takes the snaps throughout 2017 in Cleveland.
- While the Tennessee Titans did draft a top wide receiver in Corey Davis in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Maclin could come in and provide a strong veteran presence for an extremely young offense. He could help Marcus Mariota in a big way.
- Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky may be competing for the starting QB job with the Chicago Bears, but to whom are they going to throw? Kevin White is a huge question mark, and Alshon Jeffery is playing for another one of Maclin’s former teams, the Philadelphia Eagles. Maclin would immediately become the go-to guy in the Windy City.
- We all know that the San Francisco 49ers could use some offensive talent to help support the hiring of Kyle Shanahan and signing of Brian Hoyer, and the Niners definitely have more than enough cap space to sign Maclin. They already signed Pierre Garcon, but adding Maclin would still be a very smart move.
As for some sleeper teams that could really benefit from adding a receiver such as Maclin, I could certainly see the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys all making sense. Honestly, I wouldn’t even rule out a reunion with the Eagles.
And, of course, can you ever rule out the New England Patriots when it comes to adding a veteran player who may be in search for a Super Bowl ring, especially on an incentive-based one-year contract? Never say never.