Pick a side:
Player A: 105 catches, 1,129 yards, 8 TD
Player B: 79 catches, 1,227 yards, 8 TD
The Chiefs made a shocking move in early June when they released veteran receiver Jeremy Maclin. The most veteran presence in the receiver room, a leader by all accounts, and the highest paid pass catcher on the football was let go to pay for the sins of John Dorsey’s cap management.
The move was more costly than the just the price tag, as tampering charges followed Maclin to Kansas City, forcing the Chiefs to surrender a third round pick in 2016 and a fifth round pick in 2017.
The cap issue was likely the determining factor in the release, but there was also an additional value to the move that we couldn’t see. Tyreek Hill’s role as a pass catcher would greatly increase. Hill, we all know, is the most explosive offensive weapon in football. He is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. The Chiefs needed a way to get him the ball more, and lining up him up in Maclin’s usual Z receiver spot was an ideal way to generate more touches.
Back to the mystery players. I cheated a little.
Player A is Maclin and Hill’s production for the 2016 season.
Player B is Hill’s pace for this season.
We all were stunned when Maclin was let go shortly after his wedding, attended by a large contingent of Chiefs players and coaches.
But they did the right thing. Not only did they save a large amount of cap space, but Hill has done more with less this year. The role Maclin played was going to eat into Hill’s touches. The explosive plays from Hill as a pass catcher have largely come from the Z role.
Per my charting, Hill was in the Z role for all six of his touchdown catches. Those six plays accounted for 312 yards. Maclin has 440 yards receiving all season on 40 receptions.
I don’t believe we’ve seen the best of Hill yet. I know a certain young passer whose skill set aligns perfectly with Hill’s unique ability as a downfield threat. We’re just scratching the surface with our peace sign throwing playmaker. It’s still up-Hill from here.