5 potential landing spots for Jeremy Maclin
A typically dull stretch of the NFL offseason took on some unexpected intrigue Friday when the Kansas City Chiefs announced the release of veteran wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
The 29-year-old is coming off a disappointing 2016 season, and getting released by a team that lacks talent at his position could prove to be indicative of his future prospects.
Even so, teams around the league will be eager to see if they can bring out the best of his playmaking ability.
With that in mind, here's a look at five realistic landing spots for Maclin as he heads to the free-agent market.
Using a second-round pick on Zay Jones was a solid start for Buffalo's efforts to find another running mate, and some insurance, for Sammy Watkins. This offense still needs much more, though. Maclin would be a strong complement opposite Watkins in the starting lineup, and he could shift into the slot to make room for Jones in three-receiver sets. The Bills could easily manipulate their cap situation to make it happen, and perhaps LeSean McCoy, a former teammate of Maclin's in Philadelphia, can lead the recruiting efforts.
The Ravens inexcusably passed up any and all opportunities to upgrade an already thin receiver corps that lost Steve Smith to retirement this offseason. Maclin's release could present the perfect opportunity to make up for that oversight. The now-former Chiefs receiver would quite easily be the best wideout on the roster in Baltimore. A trio of Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, and Maclin, with the latter seeing plenty of work from the slot, would give opposing defenses fits in the vertical game.
With Jason Witten nearing the end of his career, and Terrance Williams having failed to emerge as a reliable No. 2, Dak Prescott doesn't have much to work with in the passing game aside from Dez Bryant. Complementing their star receiver's presence with an explosive playmaker like Maclin would round out a suddenly potent Cowboys offense. Jerry Jones has shown more restraint in recent years, and that could very well end up being the deciding factor in this equation, but this is one of the rare blockbuster moves that would also make a lot of sense.
Maclin will have no shortage of suitors, so it remains to be seen whether he'll entertain the possibility of joining a team that's only now starting a full-scale rebuild. Money talks, though, and the 49ers have plenty of it. Much like he was willing to do with other players earlier in the offseason, John Lynch could justify going above and beyond market value to steal him away from the rest of the league. From a football perspective, the idea of Maclin teaming up with Pierre Garcon as a featured target in a Kyle Shanahan-led offense could also have some appeal.
Why not give Andrew Luck one more weapon to field a potential juggernaut on the offensive side? Maclin would provide all the explosiveness 2015 first-round bust Phillip Dorsett was supposed to bring, just in the form of a polished veteran instead. New general manager Chris Ballard was part of the front-office regime that brought Maclin to Kansas City back in 2015. Whether that draws him to Maclin or pushes him away is anyone's guess. But landing him again, this time with a quarterback who can actually push the ball downfield, could pay off in a big way.