Eagles Notebook: Maclin hoping to re-sign with Eagles

Posted: January 08, 2014

JEREMY MACLIN said he was "pretty sure everything's going to work itself out," as the Eagles packed boxes and headed into the offseason yesterday at NovaCare.

Reading between the lines, it seems unlikely Maclin will break the bank elsewhere as a free-agent wide receiver coming off an ACL tear in his right knee and a missed season. General manager Howie Roseman has indicated in the past he is interested in bringing back the player who caught more passes through his first four seasons (258) than anyone in franchise history.

"I think the future is bright for Jeremy Maclin," Roseman said yesterday. He said the "door is open" to retain both Maclin and Riley Cooper, the pending free-agent receiver who replaced Maclin in this season's lineup, that signing one doesn't preclude signing the other. He also said "this isn't an open buffet, [where] you can have anything you want. That would be a beautiful thing."

"Jeremy's worked extremely hard, and he's extremely determined to come back," Roseman said.

Roseman said he told all the pending free agents that he hasn't had a chance to sit down with the coaching staff yet and establish priorities. Eaglescap.com pegs the Birds with about $20 million in cap room.

"We had some discussions early on, about plans for the future and things like that," said Maclin, whom the Eagles drafted 19th overall in 2009.

Often in such situations, a player signs a 1-year contract, then tries to hit free agency from a better position.

"I'm a realist, so I understand that that's a possibility," Maclin said.

Maclin, 25, injured on the first day of full-team workouts, said he is running, and looks forward to soon being able to run side-to-side. He was the most prominent Eagle sidelined for what became an abnormally healthy season, overall.

"It was frustrating personally, but at the same time, I was happy for these guys," Maclin said. "I was happy to see Riley step up as a playmaker in this league," with 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns.

Maclin agreed he couldn't help but think about what kinds of numbers he might have posted in Chip Kelly's offense, "but I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason."

The Eagles are in a better position than any other team to evaluate Maclin's situation, given that he has rehabbed in their facility.

Other pending free agents were similarly hopeful.

Safety Nate Allen might have improved more than any other Eagles defender during the 2013 season. Allen, a bright spot at a position the Birds just about have to upgrade, said he wants to stay and thinks there's a good chance he will.

"I just met with Howie for a little bit. Everything's positive. We're just going to see where everything goes. I love being here, I love what we have going," said Allen, a second-round draftee in 2010.

"I learned along the way. It was a process. I went through a couple of tough years," Allen said. "It didn't do anything but make me stronger as a man and as a player."

Roseman said: "Nate Allen deserves a lot of credit for getting [up] off the rug . . . He works extremely hard and has extremely high character." He called Allen "a guy you root for."

Roseman said the Eagles "have to look at every option" to improve at safety. He said seeing Brian Dawkins at Saturday's game, "you really appreciated him when he was here, but the longer he's away, you really get more and more appreciation for what a great, great player he was . . . Man, we were spoiled for a long time with Brian Dawkins."

Punter Donnie Jones might have the strongest case for returning of the Birds' eight pending unrestricted free agents, after posting a franchise-record 40.4-yard average net, and leading the league with 27 punts downed without a return. His 33 punts downed inside the 20 were a franchise record.

"I haven't heard anything; obviously, I'd love to be back," Jones said. "I'll just go home and wait for a call."

Rotational defensive lineman Clif Geathers has been a member of six teams in four NFL seasons.

"I'd like to make someplace home, but hey, if I gotta roll somewhere else, it is what it is, but it'd definitely be a heartbreaker," Geathers said. He appeared in all 16 games.

Howie Roseman, asked about the future of kicker Alex Henery, said: "I think we need competition at every spot." Roseman indicated Henery's numbers his first 2 years didn't indicate a need for competition previously . . . Asked to evaluate his first year, Chip Kelly said he would "give myself 58.8 percent." Why? "That's winning 10 games out of 17," he explained . . . Kelly said the Eagles "left the meat on the bone a little bit" in Saturday night's wild-card round playoff loss to the Saints . . . Kelly and Roseman said that Kelly will not be involved in contract talks, though Roseman said he certainly wants to keep the coach "in the loop."

On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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