The Eagles are expected to lose top wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and are keeping quarterback Mark Sanchez, two moves that could signal major changes to Chip Kelly's offense.
A deal is in place for Maclin to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, a league source confirmed. The signing would reunite Maclin with former Eagles coach Andy Reid, who drafted the wide receiver in Philadelphia. The Chiefs still need to clear salary-cap space, according to ESPN, which first reported the news.
Sanchez is returning to the Eagles on a two-year contract that is worth $9 million and possibly $16 million if he hits certain incentives, a league source confirmed.
The Eagles now have a big hole at wide receiver, and Sanchez's re-signing adds more intrigue to an already fascinating quarterback situation.
After the Eagles released DeSean Jackson last season, Maclin stepped in as the No. 1 wide receiver and caught 85 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, and Josh Huff are the only receivers under contract who were on the 53-man roster last season. The free-agent receiver class has already started to thin, too, and the Eagles might need to address the position again in the draft - if they even have top picks.
Maclin had expressed interest in re-signing with the Eagles, and the team had hoped to have him back. When the Eagles decided against using the franchise tag on Maclin last week, the team allowed for the possibility that he could sign elsewhere.
The Chiefs have a clear need at the position - they did not have a single wide receiver who caught a touchdown pass last season. Maclin would join an offense he knows, and he has spent five seasons with wide receivers coach David Culley. He would also be less than four hours from his native St. Louis, and two hours from where he went to college at Missouri.
Sanchez's deal indicates that he will have an opportunity to earn a starting job, although it's still unclear how Nick Foles factors into the mix. Perhaps Foles and Sanchez will compete for the starting job this summer, but Foles could also be the odd man out. He would likely net a high draft pick if Kelly were to attempt to trade the quarterback once the new league season starts Tuesday.
The Inquirer reported last week that Kelly has a plan in place to move up in the draft and select Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Eagles are still seven weeks away from the draft and still have to make an extraordinary move to get Mariota, but all signs continue to point to Kelly trying to get his former college quarterback.
Kelly and Sanchez developed a mutual appreciation for each other last season. Sanchez went 4-4 replacing Foles, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 2,418 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
The Sanchez signing doesn't necessarily mean Foles is gone, but the contract is similar to ones in which a veteran grooms a high draft pick for the quarterback spot.