There’s no doubt that the bar has been set high for Jeremy Maclin.
The Eagles are counting on a number of players to fill the void left by DeSean Jackson, but Maclin is at the top of that list. Earlier this offseason, Howie Roseman invoked Adrian Peterson’s name when discussing Maclin’s ability to come back strong from an ACL tear. And Chip Kelly brought up Maclin when asked how the Eagles would replace Jackson’s downfield ability.
“I’m just excited to play football again,” said Maclin Friday afternoon. “I had to watch last year from the couch, from the sidelines. It wasn’t very fun for me.”
As Maclin watched, he undoubtedly pictured himself in Kelly’s offense. Jackson, Riley Cooper and LeSean McCoy all put up career numbers. Maclin was a free agent this offseason and settled for a one-year contract, but with a strong performance, he’ll be looking at a big payday – either in Philadelphia or somewhere else.
“I’ve never really gotten into numbers, but if they plan on me being a big part of this offense like I think they are, I think the numbers will come,” he said. “So I’m not gonna get wrapped up in all that. That’s how I’m gonna approach the season.”
Pressed further about numbers being brought up at the negotiating table, Maclin added: “You say that, and I understand yeah, when it comes to that type of stuff, it does matter. But at the end of the day, if you can play football, you can play football. Not too many people come off an ACL injury and get a one-year deal worth up to $6 million. That just doesn’t happen. So is it all based off stats? The answer to that is no. I think it’s based on if you can play football, how valuable you are to the team, and I think there’s a lot of other stuff that goes into it. But like I said earlier, I’m not gonna get caught up in the numbers.”
Barring something unforeseen, Maclin and Cooper will start on the outside. Jordan Matthews is the favorite to land the first-team job in the slot.
But as we saw last year, wide receivers will move around. Jackson, for example, spent 26.5 percent of his snaps in the slot, per Pro Football Focus.
“I think they’ll have packages where I’m in the slot and also where I’m at my normal position,” Maclin said. “I think they’ll move me around a little bit, but I’m willing to do anything they ask me to do.
“You can move me inside, probably get me some mismatches on the third corner or on a safety that’s coming down in the box a little bit. So we’ll see what happens.”
Sunday will mark a full year since Maclin suffered the injury. This time around, he’s hoping to stay healthy, contribute and decide his long-term future after the season.
Clearly, the Eagles are counting on him.