Buffalo Bills: Was Jeremy Maclin signing with Ravens a blow?
Is Jeremy Maclin choosing the Baltimore Ravens a big blow to the Buffalo Bills heading into 2017?
Rarely does a player with the talent level of Jeremy Maclin hit the open market as late as June. However on June 2 the Kansas City Chiefs released Jeremy Maclin to ease their cap hit. Once Maclin was released, the Buffalo Bills were immediately interested.
They appeared to be a perfect match as head coach Sean McDermott and Maclin are familiar with each other. They had spent time together in Philadelphia. Additionally Bills running back LeSean McCoy and Maclin are good friends. McCoy took it upon himself to try and recruit Maclin to Buffalo.
Ultimately, Maclin decided to pass on signing with the Bills, and chose to sign a two-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens. It appears, on the surface, to be a blow to the Bills offense. Maclin would have provided another weapon for Tyrod Taylor and to take some pressure of the Bills run game. However, one could argue that Maclin passing on the Bills is a blessing in disguise, especially when you look at the contract he signed.
The Ravens drastically overpaid for Maclin with a deal worth $11 million over two years. He’s coming off a very disappointing season with the Chiefs, in which he started in only 12 games due to a groin injury. His numbers were weak with 44 catches equaling 534 yards and two touchdowns.
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Some of Maclin’s drop off can be attributed to injury. Groin injuries are notoriously difficult to recover from for wide receivers due to constant cuts and quick strides that wide receivers need to execute. However, when you look deeper at Maclin’s stats from last year, there are some numbers that pop out.
Maclin failed to make more than six catches in a game all season, and reached the six-catch plateau only twice. Furthermore, Maclin had an 82-yard receiving game only once (Week 15). It’s also worth noting that this happened as the Chiefs were weak at wide receiver. When the Chiefs recruited him in 2015, Maclin was supposed to be the go-to guy for quarterback Alex Smith. Unfortunately, he finished third in receiving yards on the team behind a rookie wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce last season.
In the end Maclin signing with the Ravens isn’t the end of the world for this Bills offense, especially in light of his contract. The patience of the new Bills regime to not overpay for a 29-year old wide receiver coming off a down year is promising. The Bills can go out and sign a veteran wide receiver during training camp if they evaluate that their group is lacking.
But for now, staying the course and allowing Zay Jones and Sammy Watkins to get more reps during camp and not overpaying for Maclin was the right move.
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