Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will have a chance to see how he fits into Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly's high-energy offense after all.
After missing the 2013 season with a knee injury, Maclin signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Eagles on Friday rather than test the free-agent market. The 25-year-old was due to become an unrestricted free agent March 11.
"This is the place where I wanted to be," Maclin said during a news conference that was streamed on the team's website. "I'm excited I get a chance to play in Chip's offense and I'm excited to help this team get to the next level. I think this is the right spot for me because it will give me a chance to showcase my skills."
Maclin was expected to be a major part of the offense last season after leading the Eagles with 69 receptions for 857 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. Those plans were waylaid when he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during a noncontact drill at training camp at the NovaCare Complex in late July.
Riley Cooper took Maclin's spot in the lineup and enjoyed an outstanding season, catching 47 passes for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. The Eagles signed him to a five-year, $25 million contract Thursday. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson also had his best season, leading the team with 82 receptions for 1,339 yards and nine receiving TDs.
"I was happy for those guys," Maclin said. "I'm not a selfish player at all. Obviously, I imagined myself in this offense and what I could be doing, but I was happy for them."
Like Cooper, Maclin had hoped to sign a multi-year deal with the Eagles. The two sides agreed on a one-year pact after failing to come to terms on a longer contract, but Maclin seemed confident he will be with the team beyond the 2014 season.
The 6-foot, 198-pounder would seem to be a good fit for Kelly's offense, which uses its wide receivers in a variety of roles.
"I'm excited to see Jeremy play in our offense," Kelly said Friday in a statement. "You saw the potential of that in the spring and summer, but obviously he didn't get an opportunity last year. When he was on the field last spring and summer, you saw his intelligence, you saw his great route-running ability, and you saw how tough of a one-on-one match-up he could be."
Maclin's return leaves the Eagles with a lot of depth at wide receiver. In addition to Cooper and Jackson, the Eagles' roster includes veteran Jason Avant, Jeff Maehl and Arrelious Benn. Like Maclin, Benn also sat out 2013 with a torn ACL.
Bringing Maclin back could mean Avant's tenure with the team might end after eight seasons. Avant is due to make $2.25 million this coming season and is due to receive a $1 million bonus next month as part of the five-year extension he signed in 2010.
There was a chance Maclin could have a more lucrative contract from another team as a free agent, but he wanted to remain with the team that drafted him in the first round in 2009.
"I saw some offseason reports that said I could have gotten more money, but it's never been about that for me," Maclin said. "My will to play football is what motivates me. I love it when people say I signed a 'one-year, prove-it deal.' In my eyes, I don't feel like I have to prove myself to anybody about anything. I'm just looking forward to getting out there and playing."
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