Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was busy last week. The team handed out four high profile contract extensions, all on offense. Most noteworthy was Riley Cooper‘s $25 million contract extension. A day after Cooper signed his extension, the Eagles announced that the team had re-signed Jeremy Maclin to a one-year, $5.5 million deal. Both contracts were low risk, because neither deal committed significant money over the long term (less than half of Cooper’s deal is guaranteed).
Locking up Cooper was a savvy move by Roseman, but re-signing Maclin was a coup. Holding onto Cooper will help to keep the Eagles’ offense clicking after he developed a strong rapport with Nick Foles in 2013. Maclin logged 69 receptions for 857 yards and seven touchdowns during a tumultuous 2012 season. He has been the Eagles’ most consistent pass catcher and offers separation and ball skills that Cooper cannot match. Surprisingly, Maclin’s per-game production actually trumps Cooper’s breakout season. In his last three years as a starter from 2010-12, Maclin averaged 60.3, 66.1, and 57.1 yards per game, compared to Cooper’s 52.2 per game average in 2013. Despite the bigger contract, Cooper may be the odd man out in the receiver rotation this season as Maclin will likely see the lion’s share of snaps at the X wide receiver position.
Philadelphia was one of the most efficient and productive offenses in the NFL last season even without Maclin, ranking second in total yards and fourth in total points. The Eagles’ offense is an arrow pointing straight up. In 2014, the team projects to rack up even more of yards and points in Chip Kelly‘s second year and Foles’ first full year as a starter.
Maclin knows this.
Though other teams such as the New York Jets were reportedly interested in Maclin heading into the start of free agency, he did not bother to test the waters. He clearly wanted to be a part of the Eagles’ offensive machine in 2014. While the Eagles would have preferred a multiyear extension, Maclin wisely opted for one-year prove-it deal. With his knee reconstruction reportedly on-schedule, he will be healthy and ready to go to start the season. With a new contract in-hand, Maclin can now focus on re-emerging as a productive starting wide receiver and re-establishing his market value. He will have an opportunity to far exceed his previous career-highs in yards and receptions as Kelly’s up-tempo offense may threaten NFL scoring records in 2014.
Maclin is betting on himself and betting on the Eagles. If he stays healthy, which is a big if, Maclin should command Mike Wallace money in 2015.