Chiefs took a risk by cutting Jeremy Maclin after five OTAs

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The NFL’s adoption of the ability to cut players in March with a post-June 1 designation was aimed in part at allowing teams to move on from a big cash and cap number without being required to let the player risk injury during offseason workouts. The Chiefs assumed that risk anyway with receiver Jeremy Maclin.

That’s perhaps the strangest aspect of Kansas City’s decision to wait until June 2 to cut the player who made $23 million over two years in Kansas City.

The Chiefs allowed Maclin to participate in five of the 10 OTA sessions before abruptly dumping him on June 2, spreading the total cap charge of $7.2 million over two year ($2.4 million applies this year). If Maclin had torn an ACL or blown an Achilles tendon or suffered another season-ending injury, the Chiefs would have owed him $10 million for 2017.

For Maclin, the risk was more than negligible. He has suffered two torn ACLs and gave the Eagles a scare three years ago during an OTA by inadvertently colliding with a defensive back, going down, and not being able to get up right away.

The Chiefs nevertheless were willing to assume that risk, possibly to see whether they could trade him (they reportedly tried a bit but couldn’t) or to see whether he still had it (Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports that Maclin looked “spry” during OTAs). Per multiple reports, the Chiefs didn’t ask Maclin to take a pay cut.

So, to summarize, they were willing to risk owing him $10 million, but they weren’t willing to keep him for 2017 at some dollar amount less than $10 million. And if the reason for the latter is that they wanted to give him a chance to make at or close to $10 million elsewhere, Maclin would have been in much better position to do that if they’d cut him on March 9, designated him as a post-June 1 release, and allowed him to hit the market while the money was still flowing.

The end result is that it was an unusual move, one which underscores the reality that no one is safe — and which should make everyone wonder who may be the next to be dumped, traded, or benched without warning by a Chiefs franchise that hopes to bust through whatever ceiling that is keeping them from returning to the AFC title game.

16 responses to “Chiefs took a risk by cutting Jeremy Maclin after five OTAs

  1. They are not busting thru anything! They have below average skill players and a quarterback is less than average, at best. The teams is in a downward spiral.

  2. The Chiefs are making this move now to benefit Patrick Mahomes in 2018 when he becomes the starter and future HOFer.

    The Chiefs want to be in decent cap position so that they can provide Mahomes a true #1 wideout when he takes command away from Alex smith.
    These are brilliant moves Andy Reid and John Dorsey are making.

  3. It might also be the Chiefs determining in OTAs whether they have the necessary replacements for Maclin before releasing him. The fact that Demarcus Robinson and Seantavious Jones playing well probably went a long way in the Chiefs decision to release Maclin. The other tidbit left out of your analysis is that the Chiefs need some salary relief to sign Mahomes. Releasing Maclin may have been their only option.

  4. The NFL … like most of the world … pays for results. When someone signs a contract they are offering services. If they no longer can deliver them then they don’t get paid. That’s fair. If they feel at risk then they should buy insurance just like a normal working stiff does.

  5. I don’t think Maclin is “done” by any means. Alex Smith is not a bad quarter back, but he’s certainly not going to take any risks and trying to throw to maclin who is likely covered by the opposing teams #1 corner just isn’t going to happen. Put him on a team with a quarter back willing to take that chance and I bet Main’s numbers rival what we saw in 2015

  6. As far as his release date of march or June it doesn’t matter as Maclin pretty much stole 23 million over two lackluster seasons in kc. For the money he was paid he never represented as a true #1 wr which is what he was paid as. Just speculating but I think the idea was to bring Mac back but either he didn’t impress at ota’s or they felt that they were just as good without him. When healthy, Maclin is their best overall wr. But he hasn’t been healthy pretty much the entire time in kc. Despite it not being the ideal time, they made their move and who cares if Maclin missed the open market as he was compensated very well the past two seasons. People think he might be picked up very fast but it is a red flag that he was dropped without a renegotiation on 6/2.

  7. Well maybe they saw something in those 5 OTA’s that made them decide to dump him… ever think of that? it might have not been some sneaky deal just simply saw something and made a decision….

  8. This is a andy reid team were talking about. He probably thought it was still a june 1st designation.

  9. I always hate seeing a player cut so late in the off season, because it makes it harder for them to find a new team.

    It makes sense they cut him, but I’d rather it had been done a month or two ago. Thats something to negotiate in a contract. Player gets paid X if he’s on the team as of …
    The team can still cut the player, but now he can find another spot.

  10. If the Chiefs make the playoffs, everybody is Super Happy and the town celebrates at the Sunday Night Hay Dance with a yummy pot luck supper and some home made pie. Swing your partner, yeeee hahhhh!

  11. You don’t need WR’s when AS is your QB.

    Just because he’s good enough to beat up on the fade doesn’t mean he’s good enough to beat good NFL teams.

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