Buffalo Bills: Could Jeremy Maclin be a good fit?

Jan 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) warms up for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) warms up for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Chiefs released one of their top wideouts recently, surprising the  league. Would he be a good fit for the Bills?

The NFL off-season got a little more interesting recently when the Kansas City Chiefs released wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, one of their top pass catching targets. Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, he spent five years with the team before joining his former head coach Andy Reid in Kansas City.

The move frees up around $10 million in salary cap space for the Chiefs, the only explanation for why they would make such an odd decision so late in the off-season. Maclin had a down year in 2016, racking up only 536 yards in 12 games, but had a 1,000 yard season in 2015. He might not be a number one receiver, but a restructured deal could’ve kept him on a team where he was still producing.

But the Chiefs’ mistake could be another team’s gain. Nick Shook of NFL.com looked at some teams that could need Maclin, and the Buffalo Bills were on the list. He wrote this about a potential Maclin-Bills pairing:

"If the Bills want to be taken seriously at all in the passing game, they need more targets for Tyrod Taylor. Buffalo attempted to address the massive hole at receiver by drafting East Carolina product Zay Jones with the 37th-overall pick, but the 6-foot-2 receiver is obviously unproven. Sammy Watkins’ foot has been as fickle as they come, and additions of Corey “Philly” Brown and Andre Holmes are less than inspiring. Maclin would be an immediate boost to the position group and also a veteran presence that the Bills have sorely lacked in their receiving corps for quite some time."

ESPN’s Dan Graziano feels the same way, writing that the Bills are one of the best potential fits for Maclin:

"No one knows whether 2014 first-round pick Sammy Watkins will be or stay healthy. The Bills drafted Zay Jones in the second round, but none of the veterans they brought in this offseason — Andre Holmes, Philly Brown, Rod Streater — come with Maclin’s resume. The Bills coaching staff also has plenty of familiarity with Maclin. Quarterbacks coach David Culley was the Chiefs’ wide receivers coach for both of Maclin’s years in Kansas City, and of course, Bills head coach Sean McDermott and assistants such as Juan Castillo and Chad Hall were in Philadelphia when Maclin spent the early part of his career there."

However, CBS Sports’ Sean Wagner-McGough lumps the Bills in with teams that could sign Maclin, but don’t necessarily need to.:

"We probably shouldn’t rule out any of these teams, but when you consider things like cap room, recent draft picks and the depth charts of teams like the Dolphins and Falcons, they aren’t quite good enough fits to crack our top tier."

Currently, the depth chart at wide receiver doesn’t look bad for the Bills, but it’s not inspiring. Sammy Watkins is injury-prone and rookie Zay Jones is dealing with a knee injury. Andre Holmes, Rod Streater and Philly Brown are good depth signings, but not number one options in the passing game. After that, you’re left with a list of bubble players like Walt Powell, Jeremy Butler and Dezmin Lewis. Brandon Tate likely makes the team, but more so because of what he brings to the return game.

If Watkins goes down again, and/or Jones struggles to stay on the field, you’re looking at one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. That would be the second year in a row.

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I have no delusions that the Buffalo Bills would sign Maclin with the intention to make him their number one wideout. That job belongs to Sammy Watkins. But if Buffalo needs a number two or three receiver (due to injuries or lack of talent), why not Maclin? Signing him certainly wouldn’t make one of the NFL’s worst passing offenses worse.

Not to mention he could be an emergency prime target in the passing game if Sammy’s foot won’t stop being an issue.

There’s also the Sean McDermott connection, which comes up a lot with the Bills lately. He was defensive coordinator for the Eagles when Maclin was on the team, and is close to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. Considering McDermott has shown no problem hiring previous associates or players (Brandon Beane, Philly Brown, Leonard Johnson), this looks like another logical move.

McDermott has done a lot of those lately.

The only real problem with signing Maclin is the money. He got a good deal with the Chiefs, but his production didn’t match it. I don’t think he’ll accept a lower deal just yet. Why? Because you still have receiver-needy teams like the San Francisco 49ers or New York Jets who could dole out the money for someone like him.

If the Buffalo Bills sign Maclin, and that’s a big if, don’t be surprised if it’s a cheap deal right before training camp.

Next: Mike Clay gives record and stat projections for 2017

Do YOU think the Buffalo Bills should sign Jeremy Maclin? Leave your comments below!