Former Pro Bowl WR Jeremy Maclin released by Chiefs two years into $55M deal

Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday, two years into a $55 million contract.

The move, which came as a surprise despite the fact Maclin had just two touchdown catches last season and was making almost $10 million this year, leaves the Chiefs thin at wide receiver.

Maclin followed coach Andy Reid to the Chiefs in 2015, after five seasons with the Eagles in which he caught 343 passes for 4,771 yards and 36 touchdowns and went to the Pro Bowl in 2014. He topped 1,000 yards in his first season in Kansas City, but dropped to career lows of 44 catches for 536 yards in 12 games last year.

“These decisions are never easy, especially with a player like Jeremy who I’ve grown close with on and off the football field over the years,” Reid said in a statement. “I have a lot of respect for the way he goes about his business and how he handles himself as a professional. I wish him the best of luck moving forward.”

The unexpected move came after the Chiefs wrapped up the second week of voluntary workouts. Maclin had been a regular at the Chiefs’ practice facility this offseason and he recently got married — with Reid and a number of his teammates in attendance.

Maclin was entering the third year of a $55 million, five-year contract with Kansas City. It was a deal that became especially costly when the Chiefs were found guilty of tampering in their pursuit of him and were stripped of two draft picks and received a fine.

The Chiefs have been struggling with the salary cap for few years, and they had just $3.5 million available before the move. By releasing Maclin after June 1, they saved about $10 million that they can use to sign their three remaining draft picks and any additional free agents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.