Sep 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (18) celebrates his touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY Sports
In Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to the Arizona Cardinals, one player’s performance stood out from the rest. Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receiver Jeremy Maclin posted his sixth multi-touchdown game of his career, gaining 187 yards from 12 catches for two touchdowns.
On Tuesday, Maclin was named the recipient of the 2014 Ed Block Courage Award. This is an award voted for by his teammates and shows what an impact Maclin has had since returning from ACL surgery last season.
Maclin has embodied the Philadelphia fighting spirit, battling back from seemingly career threatening situations twice in his career. In 2013, Maclin tore his ACL leading to a year out of action. In 2011, Maclin suffered from a lymphoma scare during training camp, before thankfully being given the all clear. Following both situations, the speedy wide receiver has kept his head down, concentrated on getting fit and has brought his A game to the field on Sundays.
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In the 2014 offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles made the blockbuster decision to release former star wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The Eagles fans were comforted somewhat by the news that the Eagles had already tied Maclin and fellow wide receiver Riley Cooper to contracts prior to Jackson’s release. Due to Maclin’s uncertain status following his injury, however, Maclin’s deal was only £6.5 million for one year.
The Eagles must now look to tie Maclin down for a longer deal. If he continues to perform at a high level, Maclin’s name will drift strongly into contention for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Every big performance adds more dollars to the price tag that the Eagles will have to pay to retain the wide receiver. The Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman must look to get Maclin tied down on a long term deal sooner rather than later.
Part of the reason for this is the performance of the Eagles other wide receivers. Rookie Jordan Matthews looks the real deal. He’s performed at a high standard every week this season, despite one or two “rookie mistakes”. Fellow rookie Josh Huff doesn’t seem to have settled yet. He’s had one or two “diva” moments, demanding playing time and entering into twitter rows with fans. His personality doesn’t seem to fit what Head Coach Chip Kelly wants from his players and his return on the field doesn’t warrant a big time attitude yet. Riley Cooper has underwhelmed fans this year, proving perhaps that his stellar performances in 2013 were flashes in the pan, partly fueled by an outstanding chemistry between Cooper and quarterback Nick Foles, who also hasn’t been on top form this season.
Jeremy Maclin is a star on the Eagles offense and it scares me that he’s only tied down for this season. A long term deal must be top of the Eagles’ list and I would urge them to get this done sooner rather than later.