A few weeks back, Jimmy Kempski for PhillyVoice reported the Eagles are “willing to move on” from Mychal Kendricks and anticipate interest trade for the veteran linebacker. Of course, this is not the first time we’ve heard that. Kendricks was also rumored to be on the block in 2015, instead going on to sign a contract extension after months of speculation.
Kendricks hasn’t been on stable ground since. He turned in a shaky performance as part of a bad defense in ’15, then fell out of favor under a new coaching staff last season, lining up for just 26.8 percent of the unit’s snaps.
With all of that in mind, it certainly makes sense to move on from Kendricks. The $1.8 million in salary cap savings his departure would create is barely actionable, but it was clear he was unhappy with his role last season. Furthermore, Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks are obviously better fits for Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s system, and three linebackers simply aren’t on the field all that often in today’s NFL.
While the Eagles no longer require his services, one would imagine Kendricks would be an attractive option to teams in need of a linebacker. He only turns 27 in September and has manageable base salaries of $4.85 million in 2017, $5.85 million in 2018 and $6.85 million in 2019, according to OverTheCap.com.
More importantly, Kendricks is only two years removed from being considered one of the top playmakers at his position. In the three seasons from 2013-15, he was one of only four linebackers in the NFL to record at least 11.0 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions. Each of the other three went to the Pro Bowl during that period.
Yes, the ’15 campaign was a down year for Kendricks. True, he hasn’t looked the same since. There have always been legitimate knocks on Kendricks’ as a player, such as the fact that he is only 6-foot tall, or his seeming inability to stay healthy.
Yet if utilized properly, Kendricks can be a weapon in some defense, particularly a scheme that makes frequent use of his ability as a pass-rusher. He’s proven that much.
So if there’s interest around the league, and his contract isn’t an issue, why wouldn’t the Eagles be able to strike a deal? The savings from his release are so insignificant that it doesn’t really prompt action, which means the front office has time to find a partner. And while the return won’t be huge – probably no higher than a fifth-round draft pick – that’s more valuable to the Eagles at this point than somebody who can’t get on the field.
Given how much the Eagles like to trade, and how obviously disgruntled Kendricks is in his current situation, it seems only a matter of time before the situation is rectified. In all honesty, it’s the only path that makes sense.
Rating the Rumor: They better