Is Jeremy Maclin a potential fit with the Cleveland Browns?

Dec 18, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) catches a pass as Tennessee Titans defensive back Valentino Blake (47) defends during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) catches a pass as Tennessee Titans defensive back Valentino Blake (47) defends during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns could use a dependable target at the wide receiver position and Jeremy Maclin is now the hottest receiver on the free agent market. Could a match be brewing?

The Cleveland Browns upgraded their offensive line in free agency, traded for quarterback Brock Osweiler and drafted another in DeShone Kizer. Among their other offseason moves, veteran receiver Kenny Britt was signed while the Browns didn’t retain fan-favorite Terrelle Pryor, who chose to take a worse deal in Washington.

Britt, who is coming off the best season in his career, is the oldest receiver on the team at 28. No other receiver expected to make the roster has more than two years of NFL experience. Adding another veteran to this young receiving core would help develop the young talent in the stables, and Jeremy Maclin, who was released on Friday by the Kansas City Chiefs, fits the script.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Maclin in 2009 and the former first-round pick lived up to his hype coming out of Missouri. Throughout his career, he has totaled 474 receptions, 6,395 yards and 46 touchdowns combined between the Eagles and Chiefs.

Maclin has posted more than 850 receiving yards in all but his first season (773) and last season (536). His rather disappointing 2016 comes with a caveat, however, as he dealt with groin injuries that limited him to only 12 games.

However, even when he was on the field, he was not in synch with quarterback Alex Smith. If it had not been for the breakout season from rookie Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs passing game would’ve suffered tremendously. Maclin looked a bit out of shape and was not efficient compared to previous seasons.

The downfall year came as a surprise, though, as Kansas City head coach Andy Reid was also Maclin’s coach with the Eagles, so the offensive system was comparatively similar, which could raise red flags for teams interested in potentially signing Maclin for 2017.

Does this lead others to believe there is more to the story regarding him being cut? Or was it truly a cap-saving move as the Chiefs saved $10 million by releasing Maclin.

Despite those questions, Maclin has the physical attributes to become Cleveland’s No. 1 receiver and certainly help out their starting quarterback.

The Browns have a handful of young receivers, all which need to prove they’re worthy of starting in the NFL. However, Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins and Corey Coleman join Britt as locks to make the 2017 roster at the position. Of course, Coleman’s hamstring woes continue after suffering another injury this week in practice.

Coleman’s injury severely diminishes the talent-level at the receiver position in Cleveland and adding a player like Maclin only would help. Not just for one reason, either.

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Developing the young receivers is a necessity for the Browns and bringing in another proven veteran should expedite that process. The core group is just entering their second seasons and are due for increased roles, especially with Coleman’s injury.

Sure, Maclin would take away playing time from them, but it’s about the practices and learning process that would help develop these younger guys. On-field experience is without a doubt important, but so is ensuring the quarterback having viable weapons.

The Brown are adamant that a quarterback competition is upon us, and rightfully so. Cody Kessler is the starter to begin practice, with Kizer and Osweiler are chasing him for that spot. Obviously, Kizer being drafted raises eyebrows to how the front office views Kessler, who was drafted just one season ago. Despite this, they have two young quarterbacks and Osweiler competing to start and all of them have one glaring similarity.

They need all the help they can get to get the most out of them.

Whether it’s Kessler, Osweiler or Kizer, throwing them in against the Pittsburgh Steelers come September with Maclin at their disposal without question benefits them. He would clearly become the best receiver on the roster, and has also been to the playoffs with both the Eagles and Chiefs. He understands what is takes to be among the best in the business and how to win in the NFL.

Having played with the likes of DeSean Jackson and with Hill in Kansas City, Maclin understands how to play with and help develop talent.

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Factor in the potential to develop the other receivers along with his physical abilities, and Maclin would make life easier for the Browns and in particular one of their potential three starting quarterbacks.