Each situation has its pros and cons, but here’s a rundown as to why it’d make sense for him to sign with the Bills.
Tyrod Taylor is a better quarterback than Joe Flacco
In 2015 and 2016 combined, Joe Flacco has completed 64.7% of his passes. Tyrod Taylor has completed 62.6% of his. That’s the only passing statistic in which Flacco > Tyrod since the latter became Buffalo’s starter.
Tyrod has a better:
- TD %
- INT %
- Yards Per Attempt
- Yards Per Completion
- Adjusted Yards Per Attempt
- QB Rating
- Pro Football Focus QB Rating
- ESPN QBR
- Football Outsiders DVOA
Flacco has thrown the football more often than Tyrod, which has led to higher passing-yard totals. And, yes, the current Ravens quarterback can flash a Super Bowl ring. But as it stands today, Tyrod is a more efficient signal-caller. And most wide receivers consider quarterback quality when deciding which team to join.
Bills can offer Maclin more money this year
The salary cap technically matters, but it’s easy to get around. After Wednesday’s release of Dennis Pitta, the Ravens have around $5 million cap room, per the NFLPA. That doesn’t mean they can only offer him $5M. If they needed to, they could offer him a three-year, say, $18M deal that’d be backloaded in the second and third year. Maclin could count as a $4M hit in 2017 and $7M in 2018 and 2019. Finagling the cap isn’t against NFL rules or necessarily hard to do, especially with signing bonuses being prorated over the life of a contract.
However — and this is a big however — the Bills can provide Maclin with more money this season, as they currently have $11.5M in available cap. Sure, most players like long-term job security (who doesnt?), but the vast majority of NFL contracts today are two-year pacts with little-to-no guaranteed money beyond that, even if they’re reported as three, four, or five-year deals. Maclin certainly knows that. He signed a five-year, $55M deal with the Chiefs in 2015. From Kansas City, he got a $12M signing bonus, and his two fully guaranteed salaries of $750k and $9.5M in 2015 and 2016. That’s it.
The Bills could offer — being reasonable here — a one-year “prove it then get another contract” deal worth more than what the Ravens have left in cap room for 2017. So it theoretically could be a one-year, $8M contract. Buffalo could also offer him a second-year for some job security, and we know the Pegulas aren’t frugal when giving signing bonuses.
In the end, the Bills can give Maclin more money right now than the Ravens can.
Familiarity with Bills assistant coach David Culley
Culley made the switch to QB coach when the Bills hired him this offseason, yet he has spent most of his NFL tenure coaching wide receivers. Maclin had Culley as his position coach in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016.
Sure, Maclin wouldn’t be working with Culley one-on-one during practice as much as he did with the Eagles or Chiefs, but the quarterbacks and receivers spent a great deal of time together.
Players like familiarity.
He’d see No. 2 cornerbacks more often
As long as Sammy Watkins is on the Buffalo Bills, he’s going to draw the opposition’s No. 1 cornerback nine times out of 10. And for as much as a pass-catcher like Maclin has earned the right to believe he’s a No. 1 receiver himself, you won’t hear any wideouts arguing about drawing a No. 2 cornerback all game.
The Ravens top two wideouts are Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman. Wallace is a proven deep threat — the Bills are definitely aware of that — but Perriman is fresh off a 33-catch, 499-yard, three-touchdown 2016. The former first-round pick has the athletic attributes to become a viable option, but at this juncture, neither he nor Wallace are guaranteed to draw No. 1 cornerbacks all game.
Team up with LeSean McCoy
McCoy and Maclin are close friends. McCoy was in Maclin’s wedding just a few months ago. The two were back-to-back selections by the Eagles in 2009 — nice draft, Howie — and emerged as stars together in Philadelphia.
The Bills running back has pulled out all the stops in his recruitment of Maclin.
Beyond their friendship, McCoy’s presence should be enticing to Maclin from a production potential angle.
The Bills have had the NFL’s best run game since McCoy arrived in Western New York in 2015. Last year, Buffalo averaged a whopping 5.3 yards per carry, and McCoy had the most efficient season of his career.
Meanwhile, as a team in 2016, the Ravens averaged 4.0 yards per carry, which was the 22nd-best figure in football. In 2015, they averaged 3.9 yards per rush, the 24th-highest in the NFL.
They didn’t draft any running backs, and added Danny Woodhead in free agency. Baltimore did however select two offensive linemen in the 2017 draft in the fourth and fifth round.
Defenses aren’t going to be nearly as afraid playing two deep safeties against the Ravens as they will be against the Bills.
When facing Buffalo, an extra safety or cornerback in the box would mean one less in the secondary for Watkins, Maclin and Co.