A Baltimore Ravens receiving corps that looked underwhelming going into training camp got a major boost on Monday, as the team signed former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin to a two-year deal.
According to Adam Schefter, the Ravens may still not be done chasing free agent receivers. Though some considered that the team would land either Maclin or former Jets receiver Eric Decker, Baltimore may try to ink both.
The Ravens drew ample fan criticism for not selecting a receiver in this year's NFL Draft, despite two of the team's top three leaders in receiving yards departing in the offseason. Veteran receiver Steve Smith announced his retirement and tight end Dennis Pitta was released last week after suffering his third dislocated hip in five years, the latest coming in an OTA practice.
Mike Wallace had a bounceback year in his first season in Baltimore, though due to his reliance on straightaway speed, he is hardly the most versatile wideout in the NFL. Maclin provides the roster with a reliable possession receiver who can move the sticks. Without him, there would have been tremendous pressure on unproven receiver Breshard Perriman to produce.
Maclin had a statistical down year in 2016, his second in Kansas City, following back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons the previous two campaigns. He also missed four games in November with a groin injury. Still, at age 29, there's little reason to believe that he can't play at a high level for a few more seasons. He missed the entire 2013 season due to an Achilles injury, only to post career highs in yardage in 2014.
The Chiefs surprised much of the football community by cutting Maclin in the first week of June to save $10 million in cap space. While Kansas City fans expressed dismay at the lack of depth to fill Maclin's place, the emergence of Tyreek Hill as an all-around weapon gives the Chiefs some options.
In Baltimore, Maclin will be reunited with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who worked in the same role during the receiver's first four seasons in Philadelphia. Apparently, returning to the Eagles was a possibility for Maclin even though they already brought in Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery this offseason. Many reports indicated that Maclin was choosing between offers from the Ravens and the Bills, while ESPN's Josina Anderson reported that the Ravens' chief competition for Maclin was actually the Eagles.
���� #RavensNation- Jeremy Maclin (@jmac___19) June 12, 2017
The Ravens are coming off their first consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance in the John Harbaugh era. Joe Flacco has only put up middling numbers in the last few years, and omplacency is not an option for a franchise accustomed to being contenders. Getting Maclin doesn't necessarily vaunt the Ravens into Super Bowl contention or even prop them up as division favorites. What it does do, though, is make a playoff run much easier to envision.