Earlier this week, impending free agent Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tweeted the following: "Not cutting my hair until I sign a new contract....the struggle lmao." Well, it appears Maclin might have to wait some time before his next trip to the barbershop.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan appeared on 97.5 The Fanatic on Friday evening and gave an update on Maclin's contract situation. Caplan is certainly plugged in to the Eagles; look no further than him breaking the news of Philadelphia hiring new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day on Thursday evening.
Here's what Caplan had to say. Listen for yourself starting at 30:53 and ending around 33:25.
"Well, here’s the deal. So, about a month ago, I was asked — on I think it was NFL Insiders on ESPN — about the status of Maclin’s contract. I said "Don’t worry about it. He’s not going anywhere. The Eagles want him back. He wants to be back. This [deal] will get done."
That was before Maclin changed his agent from Ben Dogra, who’s done a ton of deals going as far back as Jon Runyan. I mean he must have easily done two dozen contracts with the Eagles over the years. The Eagles have a great working relationship with him.
Now, Dogra broke off from CAA, and his partner was Tom Condon. Ironically, Tom Condon now represents Maclin. And Condon… I just get the sense he doesn’t have the same relationship with that Dogra did. I’m not saying the deal won’t get done, I’m just not nearly as optimistic as I was before.
Maclin wants to come back, the Eagles want him back, it’s going to take way more work than I anticipated. There’s a lot of time here. The sense of urgency doesn’t happen until the last couple of days before free agency starts which is March 10th at 4 PM Eastern. Eagles still have to get to the Combine, that’s where more work will be done.
Condon’s done a ton of contracts over the years. He’s got Eli Manning, and Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan. The guy is a super agent. The guy also played in the league.
But I just think that had Maclin not left Dogra, it wouldn’t have surprised me if a deal would have got done already. I think that’s how good the [Eagles-Dogra] relationship is.
So they’ve got to work through this. This will not be easy. But again, I’m just going to make this very clear: I’m not nearly as optimistic. I thought it was an absolute lock when Dogra was there because I kind of know this was going with those guys.
Now, you know, I don’t know why Jeremy changed agents. Just because Dogra’s on his own, it has zero impact on him being able to do deals. I just don’t get it. Dogra’s one of the best agents, so is Condon. But you don’t want to go to a situation where you’re changing agents and going to a guy who I don’t know if he’s got the… he [has] a lot of deals done in recent years with the Eagles, I just don’t see that. So to me I’m concerned. I’m a little concerned here.
So we’ll see. Both [sides] want this deal done here, OK. Both want it done. It’s just going to take a while. I’m optimistic though. But my optimism is not nearly as high."
As Caplan notes, the potential holdup in a new contract is the fact that Maclin switched agents. Caplan wasn't joking when he said Dogra had a great relationship with the Eagles. Dogra was critical in the Eagles acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha (who, despite his struggles in Philadelphia, was obviously a huge signing at the time) and more recently Malcolm Jenkins.
With that said, it's not as if Condon's relationship with the Eagles is bad. Condon already represents Eagles backup quarterback Matt Barkley and veteran inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
The concerns highlighted by Caplan are somewhat legitimate, but I'm not sure if the Eagles would have necessarily had a deal done with Maclin by now if Dogra was still his agent. And it still seems likely that Maclin and the Eagles will be able to work out a deal. Head coach Chip Kelly, who is now in control of the player personnel department, has said he wants Maclin back and Maclin stated he wants to stay. Maclin is still young and coming off a career performance. He'll be due a big pay day, but the Eagles can't really afford to lose him.
In the worst case scenario, the Eagles can still prevent Maclin from entering free agency by using the franchise tag on him. Doing so would cost ~$12.80, but that could buy some more time for both sides to work out a long-term deal.
There's still over a month until free agency starts, so it's still too early to get concerned about a deal not getting done. In the meantime, Caplan's monologue is something to keep in mind.