The Buffalo Bills, much to the delight of starting running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Tyrod Taylor, have shown significant interest in free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
On late Tuesday afternoon, the Bills officially announced that Maclin was in the process of conducting his free agent visit with the team in Orchard Park. Maclin was just released by the Kansas City Chiefs over the weekend.
Maclin, 29, has been considered the top option at receiver heading into each of the last two seasons. In 2016, however, Maclin battled injuries and Kansas City saw the emergence of young wide receiver Tyreek Hill as the season went on.
All things considered, along with their cap predicaments in this season and the next, the Chiefs elected to move on from Maclin. The free agent wide receiver also has reported interest from multiple teams in the NFL, but his first official visit was with the Bills.
Joe B's Take
If the Bills were to make the move in signing Jeremy Maclin, this would be one that would certainly signal what the Bills true intentions are in 2017.
If Maclin is signed, that means the Bills believe -- above all else --that they can win in the 2017 season, otherwise there would be no reason to make that acquisition.
I certainly get the reasoning, with Sean McDermott wanting to put together a strong first season, and perhaps the window for the top players of the roster will close after this year. They did convince Kyle Williams to not retire, and instead, play one more season with the Bills -- likely in the hopes of making a playoff run.
With that written, if the Bills are going to sign Maclin, the contract I would favor is a one-to-two year deal, with an easy way to get out of it after the first season. This would satisfy the apparent short-term goals without jeopardizing the long-term positioning for the roster.
The 29-year-old would be brought in to be the complementary receiver option to Sammy Watkins, and in the event that Watkins reaggravates his foot injury or suffers another one, wouldn't bring on an outright catastrophe at the position for the team.
An essential one-year deal would also clear them to spend the season developing second-round pick Zay Jones, without forcing him out into the starting lineup if he isn't ready enough to do so. Plus, they can get away from it without being beholden to Maclin, and usher in the next generational wave at the position.
The other part I would like about this signing would be the fact that it potentially makes someone like Andre Holmes an expendable player. If the Bills want to recoup a third-round compensatory pick for losing Stephon Gilmore, Holmes is on the short-list of qualifying players that would have to be released before Week 10 to potentially get that pick. The Bills would likely need to release three of those qualifying members of the Bills roster.
In all, I'd be fine with the Maclin move -- knowing full well that the Bills think they can win this year. However, if it's a contract they can't easily get out of after one or two years, I think that would be a mistake for the long-term.