Maclin on contract year: 'I think I can only get better'

Maclin on contract year: 'I think I can only get better'

June 23, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Jeremy Maclin is one of 12 receivers in NFL history with at least 50 catches and 750 yards in each of his first four seasons. (AP)

LANCASTER, Pa. -- Jeremy Maclin knows exactly what’s at stake this year.

Millions upon millions of dollars.
 
Maclin has had four pretty good seasons with the Eagles. He’s actually one of the more consistent receivers in the league. But he’s yet to hit 1,000 yards, make a Pro Bowl or become a superstar.
 
And it’s contract time.
 
Maclin, who just turned 25, is entering the final year of his five-year rookie contract, and his performance will determine exactly how wealthy he will become moving forward. And what team will pay him.
 
In the Chip Kelly offense, he should thrive. He should put up career numbers. If he does, the Eagles will almost certainly try to re-sign him. If he doesn’t, and the Eagles feel like they can easily replace him with a dramatically cheaper wide receiver, he’ll be gone.
 
“I’m anxious,” Maclin said at LeSean McCoy’s charity softball game Saturday night (see story). “I’m ready for the season to start. This is a big year for me personally, with my contract coming up. I’m looking forward to it.”
 
Maclin said there has been some preliminary talk between agent Jim Steiner and the Eagles, but he said those negotiations have not been significant.
 
“The initial talks are always, ‘Whatever,’” he said. “It’s a typical thing you do but nothing in depth.”
 
Maclin is due for a massive raise. After earning base salaries ranging from $535,000 as a rookie to $993,250 last year, he’s due $3.203 million in 2013 with a cap number of $4.553 million.
 
Maclin’s five-year deal as a 2009 first-round pick was worth $14,382,280, or an average of about $2.88 million per year.
 
For the sake of comparison, recent contracts or renegotiations for top receivers have been in the range of $11.195 million per year for Brandon Marshall, $11.1 million for Vincent Jackson, $9.7 million per year for DeSean Jackson and $9.2 million for Andre Johnson.
 
In four seasons with the Eagles, Maclin has 258 catches for 3,453 yards and 26 touchdowns.
 
He’s one of just 12 receivers in NFL history with at least 50 catches and 750 yards in each of his first four seasons, and his 3,453 yards are third-most in franchise history by a player in his first three seasons -- behind only teammate DeSean Jackson (4,085) and Mike Quick (3,864).
 
Including regular-season and postseason games, Maclin is one of only four players ever with at least 250 catches and 3,500 yards before his 25th birthday. The others are Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Hakeem Nicks and Isaac Bruce.
 
“I think I can only get better,” Maclin said. “So I think it’ll be good for me to go out there and just play ball and let it take care of itself.”
 
We’ve seen plenty of Eagles unable to deal with the distraction of playing into their contract year. They struggle through the season and invariably wind up with another team with a disappointing contract.
 
Maclin promises that won’t happen to him.
 
“I'm going to go out there and play ball,” he said. “Obviously, this is the organization that drafted me. I don’t want to leave, but at the end of the day, that’s going to come up when it’s time for it. All I can do is play ball and play it to the best of my ability.”

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