Two Birds stars who are no longer in Philly: Jeremy Maclin (right) is in KC and DeSean Jackson is in DC.
By Sarah Berkowitz
Lots if Eagles fans are still wondering how hard Supreme Leader Chip Kelly tried to keep free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin last March as free agency opened in the NFL.
Well, thanks to the Kansas City Star, we now know:
The Eagles didn’t bust their ass to sign the guy who had a career year in 2014 after recovering from an ACL injury.
Check out this recitation:
“The bottom line is I think they tried to take advantage of his good nature,” [family friend Jeff] Parres said. “They knew he wanted to stay and there was really no reason they didn’t want him to stay, and they tried to take advantage of him.”
So when free-agency Saturday arrived in March, Maclin was intrigued by the prospect of an offer from the Chiefs and Reid but was inclined to stay with the Eagles as he went on a golf trip with Parres and family in Palm Springs.
Even when the Chiefs came at Maclin with a five-year offer worth an average of $11 million a year, Parres said, Maclin primarily wanted to know what the Eagles were thinking.
As Reid, quarterbacks Alex Smith and Chase Daniel and receivers coach David Culley were calling Maclin that day, “making him feel like he’s the greatest thing on Earth,” Parres said, Maclin could “barely get (Eagles coach and de facto general manager) Chip Kelly to answer the phone.”
“He called Chip Kelly five times Saturday: ‘Chip, can you just show me anything?’ ” Parres recalled.
(At a news conference after Maclin left, Kelly said he had had a number of discussions with Maclin and said that “we couldn’t go as high as Kansas City.”).
That Sunday, while Maclin was on the golf course, the Eagles called and countered by shifting money from year three of their offer to year two — which contrary to Kelly and published reports made it close enough to the same deal Maclin was offered with the Chiefs that Maclin was ready to stay.
As they stood on the 16th tee, Maclin’s initial thought was just that.
Then Reid called again.
And 10 minutes later Maclin was Kansas City-bound.
“It wasn’t the money; it was that 10 minutes,” Parres said. “Jeremy said, ‘(The Chiefs) just wanted me more, and I think that’s where I should be.’ “