The Eagles’ Jeremy Maclin was one of the premier wide receivers in the NFL last season, setting new career highs in receptions (85) and yardage (1,318) and tying a previous best with 10 touchdowns. Fresh off that sterling campaign and his first Pro Bowl invitation, the six-year veteran is scheduled to become a free agent March 10. However, if the 26-year-old has his way, he’ll remain an Eagle.
“I’ve always said I want to be here in Philadelphia, but also I’ve always said it’s a business,” Maclin said Saturday, according to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. “But both sides have made it known that we want each other back, so the rest is in God’s hands. If it’s supposed to happen, it’s supposed to happen. I want to be here.”
If no deal is reached this weekend, Philadelphia has until Monday to place the franchise tag on Maclin. Bowen views that as “unlikely,” though, given the fact the two sides haven’t discussed it as a possibility. What’s more, per Bowen, the tag for receivers in 2015 has an estimated worth of $12.8MM and the Eagles might not view using so much cap room on one player as a palatable option. According to OverTheCap.com, the Eagles have $27.61MM of spending space.
Regarding the possibility of being a recipient of the franchise tag, Maclin told Bowen, “It’s part of the business. I’m very attuned to what’s going on, I’m very attuned to how everything works.”
If the Eagles do tag Maclin, he’ll play his second straight season on a one-year deal. Last February, he signed a short-term pact worth $6MM with Philly after missing all of 2013 with a torn ACL.
Although the clock is ticking toward free agency, Maclin isn’t worried about the pace at which the contract negotiations between his agent, Tom Condon, and the Eagles are going.
“What’s the rush? We’re going to do this thing, we’re going to do it right,” Maclin said. “That’s how you want it to happen, that’s how you want it to be. We want both sides to be happy.”
If both sides don’t end up happy and Maclin hits the market, he’s sure to have plenty of suitors. Maclin has kept an eye on which clubs are weak at his position. “I know on paper what teams look like they need receivers,” he stated.
Unless the Eagles and Maclin find common ground soon, those other teams will come knocking when open negotiations begin March 7.