After agreeing to a one year “prove it” deal a year ago with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeremy Maclin not only provided proof, but cashed in with the Kansas City Chiefs to the tune of five years, $55 million with $22.5 million guaranteed. The Eagles were interested in bringing the 26-year old back into the fold, but had started to prepare for his departure in last year’s draft with the addition of Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff – this led to a decreased need for the team and instead they decided to address other sore spots on the team including cornerback, running back and (to an extent?) quarterback. The Chiefs, meanwhile, had a clear interest in upgrading their receiving core after failing to see a single touchdown reception from their wide receivers in 2014.
The move certainly has some dynasty impact, so let’s take a look at the parties involved.
Jeremy Maclin, WR KC
In 2014, Maclin set career highs in catches (85), yards (1,318), and tied his career high with ten touchdown receptions. With the deal to the Chiefs, Maclin reunites with Andy Reid, with whom he spent the first four years of his career. As a second receiver in Reid’s offense in Philadelphia, he averaged 106 targets 65 catches, 860 yards, and 6.5 touchdowns per season. Considering Dwayne Bowe averaged 98 targets while under Andy Reid, that’s a fair target floor to assume for the upcoming season. Now that Bowe is gone, Maclin will step into the role of lead option for Alex Smith and is the first legitimate wide receiver since Reid took over. Everyone is downgrading Maclin significantly, but he can still function as a consistent weekly low end WR2 or solid WR3.
Travis Kelce, TE KC
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Kelce turned it up at the end of the season with four straight games of six or more targets (four catches or more) – this shouldn’t change much with Maclin and will likely free him up a little more to operate as defenses will have a second receiving option to account for. Maclin isn’t a red zone threat so Kelce will remain a top option in those situations. I also think he sticks around the 90-100 target range and delivers TE1 numbers in 2015.
Albert Wilson, WR KC
Let’s assume he is the other starter in Kansas City for argument’s sake. Wilson had a nice three game stretch from week 13 to 15 with over 200 yards receiving on 12 catches. He will see sporadic usage throughout 2015 as this offense isn’t equipped to feed too many mouths. A fun speculative add but Maclin’s arrival assures dynasty owners that Wilson will not be leading the team in any category.
Alex Smith, QB KC
Maclin is the type of receiver who can run the intermediate routes or go deep. One of those is extremely helpful for Smith, the other is not. Having a sure-handed receiver who knows how to get open will only help Smith in 2015. I don’t expect a momentous leap but a few more touchdowns and a possibility of improved efficiency is enough to secure him as a solid, but unspectacular QB2 option.
Sam Bradford/Mark Sanchez, QB PHI
This isn’t a blurb to speculate who will start at quarterback in Philadelphia so I’ll lump them together. Whoever it is loses the only proven receiver Philadelphia had and even with the young talent littering the roster, Maclin will be missed. Sanchez had a nice rapport with Maclin, using him as his failsafe option. Bradford, meanwhile, would be stuck with yet another unproven receiving core after years of trying to make chicken salad out of chicken… well, I won’t finish that one. Suffice it to say, it’s a downgrade for these quarterbacks even if Chip Kelly’s offense is greater than the sum of its parts.
Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI
This is Matthews receiving corps now. Maclin had 140 targets last year and I wouldn’t be surprised if Matthews reaches that number. Yes, DeMarco Murray will be the focal point of the offense but the running game has been prevalent since Kelly began coaching the team two years ago. Expect Matthews to get a run at the deep routes Kelly likes to call and a real shot at double digit touchdowns.
Josh Huff, WR, PHI
He may be the biggest winner of the bunch. Huff is equally adept at playing the slot or moving outside and should be able to move around with Matthews. Matthews played nearly 80% of his snaps in the slot and managed 103 targets. Now, Matthews will be needed more on the outside and Huff should pick up a good chunk of the work. He may not reach 100, but 80 targets should be a reasonable assumption for the second year former Oregon Duck.
Zach Ertz, WR, PHI
How many times have we heard this one before? Ertz has a real shot to breakout this year! Unreasonable expectations were placed on the youngster but his 2014 was only hurt by a lack of touchdowns (58 catches, 702 yards, three TDs). Those could see a bump with Maclin and his ten touchdown catches moving on to Kansas City. I could easily see Ertz get an increase in production that makes him look eerily similar to Kelce by the end of 2015.