With the recent news of wide receivers Josh Gordon and Ricardo Louis, the Cleveland Browns have been discussing options to add to their current wide receiver group.
In a time span of three days, the Cleveland Browns lost two wide receivers before training camp practices even began.
On Monday, Josh Gordon announced he will miss the beginning of training camp to focus on his “overall health and treatment plan.” There has been no timetable as to when Gordon could potentially return to the team.
On Wednesday, the Browns announced that they will be without third-year wide receiver Ricardo Louis for the entire 2018 season due to a neck injury.
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That has caused the Browns to begin discussing the possibilities of bringing in another wide receiver to join the group. The Browns had a visit with Eli Rogers, but he re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday.
During the same press conference that John Dorsey and Hue Jackson said they are not sure when Gordon will return and released the Louis injury news, Dorsey said they have discussed potentially bringing free agent Dez Bryant in. He did not share anymore details of the potential interest in Bryant.
But if the Browns are looking for a low-risk, cheap veteran option at wide receiver, their best option may be Jeremy Maclin.
Maclin is nowhere near the same receiver that he was in 2014 when he caught 85 passes for 1,318 yards and ten touchdowns. But he is an available free agent that should not come at a steep cost. And he does not bring the same amount of baggage that Bryant would bring.
There is also a familiarity with Maclin and Dorsey. Following Maclin’s strong 2014 season, he signed a five-year, $55 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns’ current general manager John Dorsey was the man responsible for signing Maclin to that contract as he was the Chiefs general manager.
Maclin spent two seasons with the Chiefs, but could not re-create the success he had in 2014. In his two seasons in Kansas City, Macling caught 131 passes for 1,624 yards and ten touchdowns in 27 games. Dorsey then released Maclin after Maclin struggled to live up to his contract as he also battled injuries.
In 2017, Maclin caught 40 passes for 440 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games for the Baltimore Ravens. It was not a great season, but he was catching passes from Joe Flacco, who was one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL last season.
Maclin would be a solid fit in Cleveland’s offense with Tyrod Taylor under center. Taylor likes to throw the ball deep, but does not take chances and will hit his check-downs or safer, shorter throws. Maclin is excellent at creating space in the intermediate areas of the field.
Maclin is still a very good route runner, but his hands are not as reliable as they once were. He would be a solid receiver to jump into the second or third receiver role for Cleveland. He would also not be that expensive and would likely not need a huge role to sign.
And who knows, if put into the right situation, maybe he could find some of his old magic that made Dorsey give him such a large contract in 2015.
If the Browns are looking to build depth in their receiver room, Maclin would be a potential low-risk, high-reward option. If anything, he would be a safer option than bringing in a player like Bryant.