PHOENIX - When Andy Reid outbid the Eagles for Jeremy Maclin, the irony that the Chiefs coach was willing to spend top dollar on a wide receiver was not lost on anyone familiar with his past.
Reid, of course, hardly ever gave big contracts to receivers when he was with the Eagles, and when he did sign Terrell Owens and DeSean Jackson to long-term deals, they were team-friendly. The rationale, one that team president Joe Banner also perpetuated, was that other positions, particularly along the lines, were of more importance.
But with Maclin, Reid was willing to spend. He gave his former receiver a five-year, $55 million contract with $22.5 million guaranteed - more than $1 million more per year than the Eagles were willing to offer.
Did he overpay? It's possible.
But Reid knew what kind of player he was getting in Maclin, his work ethic, his capability to transition seamlessly back into the coach's offense. And the Chiefs' need at receiver was so great that he was probably willing to divert from a fundamental philosophy on salary-cap allocation.
"He's a good player. He's a good person," Reid said on Monday at the NFL owners meeting. "Those were the two primary things. He's probably right at the prime of his career right now. And he knows the offense."
Coincidentally, Chip Kelly was not willing to bend despite having the same knowledge of Maclin and similar needs at receiver. Reid and Kelly don't have similar offenses, though. Maclin never eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in four seasons with Reid, but he set career highs in catches (85) and receiving yards (1,318) in one season with Kelly.
"That's a great offensive system and then he did very well in it," Reid said when asked if Maclin's bump in production had more to do with Kelly's offense or the player. "It was probably a combination of both - good player and good system."
It was also Maclin's first opportunity to be the No. 1 receiver. Reid said that the 26-year old will get a similar chance to be the first option - the "Z" receiver in his system - that Jackson occupied when the two receivers played together under Reid.
But will Maclin have as many opportunities deep with Alex Smith at quarterback? Will he have as much space in Reid's pseudo West Coast offense that he had in Kelly's up-tempo spread? If the answers are "no," he at least has $11 million reasons a year to not regret his decision to take the best offer.
The Eagles, on the other hand, chose not to sign another receiver. The free-agent market was undeniably thin and there will be options in what is being called another deep draft. But Riley Cooper and Josh Huff may be the worst outside pairing in the league unless Kelly moves Jordan Matthews out of the slot.
Kelly used most of Maclin's money to sign DeMarco Murray. When Frank Gore backed out of an agreement, it also led to the Eagles' giving the former Cowboys running back a five-year, $40 million contract with $18 million fully guaranteed.
It may not have been "a panic move" as former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy recently suggested, but signing Murray along with running back Ryan Mathews - when the Eagles already had Darren Sproles and Chris Polk - placed the Eagles second in cap dollars ($12.6 million) committed to the position.
The Vikings are first, but that could change once the Adrian Peterson situation is settled.
Kelly sold both Murray and Mathews on the idea of a three-headed ground attack, one similar to how he used his running backs at Oregon. But there is a theory that the Eagles didn't want to renege on their handshake deal with Mathews (three years, $11 million, $5 million guaranteed) after Gore stiffed them.
Kelly obviously didn't want McCoy back - as evidenced by the comparable contract he gave Murray. The Eagles offered Murray more per year than the Jaguars, general manager David Caldwell told reporters on Monday. And they bid more than the Cowboys. But the Raiders did offer Murray significantly more guaranteed money, an NFL source said.
Murray was willing to take less to play for the Eagles while Maclin wasn't. Kelly wanted him back, but Maclin was just another of Reid's Eagles acquisitions who is no longer on the roster, joining castoffs Todd Herremans, Trent Cole, Nick Foles and McCoy this offseason.
NFL rosters turn over at alarming rate from year to year, but only 15 players remain from the Reid era, which ended just over two years ago. Kelly, now in complete control of player personnel, continues to put his imprint on the Eagles as the remnants of Reid's 14 seasons fade.
"I think he's doing a good job," Reid said of Kelly. "I think you guys just need to let him go. He's doing it his way and he's doing a good job at it."
His way is a little like Reid's old way.