The Kansas City Chiefs released wide receiver Jeremy Maclin Friday evening in what can only be for financial reasons. Maclin spent 2 seasons in Arrowhead in which he caught 131 passes for 1624 yards and 10 touchdowns. To say his time in Kansas City was a disappointment would be an understatement. The question now is– where does he go from here? The Pittsburgh Steelers are a prime destination.
The Steelers have arguably the best receiver in the game with Antonio Brown but Brown does not have veteran help on the opposite side. Brown has been a nightmare for opposing defenses but he’s been the lone-wolf in what can be described as one of the best offenses in the NFL. However, what happens if he can get another target to take the double teams off him?
Imagine Ben Roethlisberger in a shotgun formation with Brown on one end and Jeremy Maclin on the other. Maclin is not a 1500 yard receiver but he easily can be if he had a Quarterback with the poise and leadership of Ben. In 2016, Roethlisberger threw for 3918 and 25 touchdowns while missing 2 games. His chemistry with Brown has had fans talking about a possible Co-MVP award with the Steelers aerial attack being one-dimensional.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have up and coming players such as Eli Rogers and Sammie Coats but neither brings to the table what Maclin can. Maclin has earned his stripes in the NFL but he has yet to earn that respect that comes with winning by playing with an All-Pro QB. Not to take anything away from Donavon McNabb but he couldn’t turn Maclin into a great player and neither could the rubber arms of Nick Foles or Alex Smith. Once Maclin and Chip Kelly hooked up in 2014 is when his stock took off. Maclin caught 85 passes for 1318 yards and 10 touchdowns but decided to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs and former head coach Andy Reid the following season.
Since their reunion, Maclin wasn’t able to live up to expectations and the dollar amount of his contract. By releasing Maclin now, the Chiefs will save $10M towards the salary cap and this may be the best move for Maclin. The speed is still there as Maclin is only 28 years old and should be entering his prime. Coats and Rogers combined for 69 receptions for 1029 and 5 touchdowns. It’s clear that help is needed.
With the Steelers set to have a healthy Roethlisberger, Brown and Le’Veon Bell to start the year they could really make a run for the Super Bowl with another vet on the outside. But I don’t know who needs this more– Maclin or Brown? Look at Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to their Super Bowl run last season, they were just the Matt Ryan and Jones show. However, once Mohamad Sanu came onboard it open things up a bit for Ryan which resulted in less pressure on Jones. The result was an MVP season for Ryan.
This is a factor the Steelers must take into consideration. Jeremy Maclin may cost more but his experience is needed on a team that may just be another weapon from taking the crown off Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.