Here are three leftovers on the Jeremy Maclin deal:
1. DeSean Jackson led the Eagles in targets last year with 126. Riley Cooper was second with 84 and Jason Avant third (76). LeSean McCoy had 65; Zach Ertz 56; and Brent Celek 50.
Among that group, the only player who likely won’t be back is Avant. Meanwhile, the Eagles are adding Jeremy Maclin back to the mix and potentially more, depending on what they do in the draft and free agency. So a question worth asking is: Will there be enough targets to go around?
“When you look at how many offensive plays that you have over the course of the season, there’s a lot of opportunities to spread the ball around, get people involved,” said GM Howie Roseman. “I don’t think you have to look further than when you look at the Denver Broncos and how many options they have in their passing game and how big of an advantage that is when you have guys all around the field and you can get different personnel groups and that’s what we’re looking to do. We’re looking to be an explosive, dynamic offense and when you talk about the skills that he has, Jeremy, certainly he adds to that group.”
The Broncos mention was an interesting one. Denver, of course, dropped 52 points on the Eagles in Week 4. Eight different offensive players caught balls in that game, and four different guys had at least four catches.
The bottom line is simple: the more weapons, the better. Oh, and great quarterback play doesn’t hurt either.
2. Speaking of the Broncos, I’m surprised Maclin didn’t at least test the free agency market. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Jets and Broncos were interested. Why not at least see what those teams were willing to offer and then come back to the Eagles? Wouldn’t the one-year deal still have been there?
Maclin admitted that he did his homework on what other opportunities would be available.
“When you’re in a situation where you’re headed into free agency, those are all things that you have to do,” he said. “If you don’t do it, then you’re not really doing what you’re supposed to do. So obviously you look at everything. You look at everything around the league, you look at receiver depth, you look at quarterbacks, you look at cap room, you look at everything. That’s just what you have to do. So I think my agent kept me informed and he provided me with a lot of information about what’s going on in the league.”
Maclin is clearly excited about his fit in this offense. He watched from the sidelines last year as Cooper put up career numbers, often facing man coverage on the outside with no safety help. Maclin will get his share of those opportunities and will likely see more time in the slot as well.
“I think my ability to be versatile, my ability to be able to do everything that a receiver needs to do is what’s gonna help,” he said. “My ability to beat man to man coverage, I think is a big one. So that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
3. Yesterday we explained that the Eagles had an advantage in knowing all the details of Maclin’s knee injury because the wide receiver was doing his rehab in house.
Roseman provided some background on why the team still wanted Maclin back even though he’s had two torn ACLs in the same knee.
“When you study the two ACLs, you see it in guys who have one that eventually they have another ACL injury at some point in time,” he said. “Sometimes it balances out guys and sometimes it’s just the nature of a freak injury. And so we went back then and looked at also ACLs in receivers that are 26 and under and looked at the research on those guys and where they came out next year, and it was all really positive. We put that together with our medical reports and we just felt like this was the right move for our football team.”
It helps that Maclin’s injury occurred back in July. By the time Week 1 rolls around, he’ll be more than a year removed from surgery.