The Kansas City Chiefs made a surprise move on Friday, announcing the release of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin:
Crazy business this is…appreciate y'all #ChiefsKingdom
— Jeremy Maclin (@jmac___19) June 2, 2017
Cutting Maclin comes as a bit of a surprise, in part because he was only two years into a five-year contract worth $55 million that guaranteed $22.5 million. And even though Maclin was coming off a down year (he set career lows with 44 catches and 536 yards, and scored just two touchdowns) in 2016, his first year in Kansas City was a ringing success as he caught 87 passes for 1,088 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns.
The combination of decline in play and cap hit likely were the two biggest factors in the Chiefs parting ways with Maclin. According to Over The Cap, the move immediately clears $10 million in cap space this year and carries $2.4 million in dead money. Still, the Chiefs must feel confident in the emergence of young players like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Chris Conley to cut a player of Maclin’s caliber.
Maclin immediately becomes the best free agent on the market, and while most teams are settled with their rosters, Maclin owns the kind of potential worth clearing a roster spot to add. He turned 29 in May and joins Anquan Boldin and Vincent Jackson as free agents who are former 1,000-yard receivers.
The Bears have already signed four free agent wide receivers this offseason, so it’s unsure whether or not they would be in on a potential Maclin derby. However, there is little doubt Maclin would be the best player in the receivers room if he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse.