KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — When he was recovering from a torn ACL a couple of years ago, Jeremy Maclin kept in touch with Andy Reid.
The coach had been fired by the Eagles and landed in Kansas City, yet the bond the wide receiver had built with him had endured.
Now, the two of them will have the chance to work together again.
Maclin signed a five-year deal with the Chiefs on Wednesday, giving Reid the kind of down-the-field threat that the franchise was sorely lacking last year. Maclin agreed to terms over the weekend, but had to wait for the start of free agency to sign.
“This is something I never dreamed could happen,” Maclin said.
The contract is worth up to $55 million, a person familiar with it told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not disclosed.
“It’s not all about the money, man. This is a perfect situation, with the familiarity, what I came into the league doing,” Maclin said. “Being able to come back to the area where it all started, three hours from home, an hour-and-a-half from where I went to college — it was kind of a no-brainer for me. I’m just happy to have the opportunity.”
The 26-year-old Maclin had no shortage of suitors after starting all 16 games for the Eagles last season. He set career highs with 85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns, and showed no lingering effects from the knee injury that caused him to miss the 2013 season.
“All the success he’s had in this league, it started as a rookie,” said Reid, who traded up to select him with Philadelphia’s first-round pick in the 2009 draft. “One of the few guys who stepped in as a rookie and played well, and that’s hard to do.”
Maclin, who was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, said he narrowed his potential destinations to Philadelphia and Kansas City.
In the end, familiarity won out.
Along with reuniting with Reid, Maclin will rejoin backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who starred with him a couple of hours away at Missouri. His new offensive coordinator is Doug Pederson, who was once the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia.
And his family in suburban St. Louis is easily reachable by car, giving them the chance to see more of his games.
Maclin is no stranger to Arrowhead Stadium, either. He played there three times in college, once in the Big 12 title game and another time helping beat Kansas.
“I was either going to stay in Philadelphia or come to Kansas City,” Maclin said. “Both of those situations made sense and Kansas City made more sense.”
The Chiefs were strapped for cash a week ago after putting the franchise tag on linebacker Justin Houston.
But they were able to free enough salary cap space by restructuring contracts with linebacker Tamba Hali and defensive tackle Mike DeVito to get the deal done.
“Every decision you make is governed by money,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said during a news conference in Philadelphia. “Jeremy Maclin had an unbelievable year for us.”
The addition of Maclin could mean the end of Dwayne Bowe’s tenure in Kansas City. The former first-round pick is due to count $14 million against the salary cap after signing a $56 million, five-year contract that runs through the 2017 season.
General manager John Dorsey refused to say whether the Chiefs were preparing to release Bowe, who ranks among the franchise’s career leaders in several receiving categories.
“It’s Jeremy’s day. With Dwayne, he’s on the roster,” Dorsey said. “It’s part of the process that we’re going through right now.”
The Chiefs have been busy retooling their wide receiver group after it failed to catch a touchdown pass last season. A.J. Jenkins and Donnie Avery have already been released, and it’s widely expected that Kansas City will select at least one wide receiver in the draft.
Albert Wilson is the only other wide receiver who played significant snaps last season that is currently under contract. Junior Hemingway has also been tendered.
“We still have some other moves to be made,” Dorsey said. “This is still the infancy stage of free agency, as well as the draft coming up.”
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