Our man Adam Caplan is reporting, and the team is now confirming, that Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tore the ACL in his right knee in practice Saturday. This means Maclin is probably out for the season. Rotten news for Maclin, who has only one year left on his contract and just saw his chance at a big 2014 free-agent payday go out the window. We discussed this aspect in a post earlier Saturday.
But what this means for the Eagles' 2013 chances is also worth discussing, of course, and it's a major blow. You can argue, if you like, that DeSean Jackson is the Eagles' best wide receiver, but I personally believe that title goes to Maclin, who's more versatile if not as explosive downfield. And regardless, Jackson and Maclin are both dynamic, speedy receivers who can make special things happen when they get the ball in their hands in space. Surely, Chip Kelly's offense was being installed with the idea that he'd have both of them available to him.
And yes, the Eagles have a large number of interesting pass-catcher types on their training camp roster, from wideouts Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Arrelious Benn and Damaris Johnson to tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz. Unless they really feel the need to sign a still-available bargain-bin guy such as Brandon Lloyd or take a chance on Austin Collie, they're likely to attack this problem with volume.
But this is not a problem the Eagles are likely to be able to solve with volume -- or with Cooper. Maclin is more proven than any of the guys on that list. He has high-end, first-round-pick talent. He was entering 2013 with contract-season motivation. There is no one on the current roster who can seamlessly step in and replace what the Eagles believed Maclin could contribute and expected him to contribute. For that reason, no matter how you want to rationalize this, it just got more difficult for the Eagles to win games this season.