Just two years after signing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a big free agent contract, the Kansas City Chiefs have made him a cap casualty. Kansas City confirmed on its Twitter page that it released the 29-year-old receiver on Friday.
By designating him a post-June 1 cut, the Chiefs save $10 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap. They also take on $2.4 million in dead money, but that figure would’ve been $7 million had the Chiefs released Maclin before June 1.
Maclin started his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, who selected him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. After six productive seasons, Maclin entered free agency in 2015 and got a massive pay raise, signing a six-year deal with the Chiefs worth up to $55 million, with $22.5 million in guaranteed money.
Maclin’s first year in Kansas City was a success, with 87 catches for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns. However, injuries plagued him throughout the entire 2016 season. Maclin appeared in 12 games, but groin injuries badly hurt his production. He finished the season with just 44 catches, 536 yards, and two touchdowns, all of which are the lowest numbers of his career (he didn’t play in 2013 due to a torn Achilles).
Releasing Maclin leaves the Chiefs pretty thin at receiver, with Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley, and Albert Wilson on top of the depth chart. Outside of fourth-round draft pick Jehu Chesson, they didn’t make a serious effort to upgrade the position this offseason. Tight end Travis Kelce should easily lead the team in receptions once again.
Maclin is still only 29, so it’s entirely possible he lands with another team in time for training camp. He’s certainly the most talented receiver available on the free agent market right now. However, he’s had a lot of injuries pile up over the years, so one has to wonder if Maclin’s best days are behind him.