The Eagles would love to clear cap space and add draft picks. Trading LB Mychal Kendricks would accomplish both and according to Jimmy Bama the team is looking to do that.
According to a source, the Philadelphia Eagles are willing to move on from Mychal Kendricks this offseason, and it is anticipated that teams around the league will have interest in acquiring Kendricks via a trade.
Kendricks will count for $6,600,000 against the salary cap in 2017, $1,800,000 of which the Eagles would save if they released or traded him. Kendricks would count for $4,800,000 in dead money. As PhillyVoice reported a few weeks ago, the Eagles are expected to free up significant cap space this offseason.
There are several angles to this situation. Let’s start by talking about Kendricks. He is a talented LB. Kendricks played well from 2012-2014. His average season was 88 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 FFs, 5 PDs, 1 INT and 6 TFLs. That’s the kind of playmaking you want from an ILB.
Things went sideways in 2015. The Eagles added Kiko Alonso and Jordan Hicks to the ILB group. That meant more of a rotation and fewer snaps. Kendricks did not handle this well. It seemed to bother his confidence and that affected his play on the field. Kendricks posted okay numbers, but anyone who watched him play could see his struggles.
Those struggles continued last spring and summer. Nigel Bradham, a natural 4-3 LB and a former player for Jim Schwartz in Buffalo, was signed in free agency. He became the SAM LB and eventually joined Jordan Hicks in the Nickel defense. That left Kendricks as the WLB. He played in the base defense and a couple of specialty packages, but he wasn’t in the regular Nickel (4-2-5), which the Eagles played the vast majority of the season. That’s not a Jim Schwartz quirk. Most NFL teams use 3 WRs and a single RB so defenses play the Nickel against that.
And that brings us to the second point. Other teams should have interest in him. Kendricks is still talented. He’s young (26) and is healthy. He’s just not a key player for the Eagles anymore. Kendricks is at his best when he can blitz and attack on a regular basis, as Jimmy pointed out in his article. I would think 3-4 teams would be more likely to want him.
There is no guarantee the Eagles will be able to work out a deal, but I could see a team in need of a LB giving up a pick for Kendricks. We aren’t talking about a super high pick. The Eagles once got a 4th for Bryce Brown. Could they pull that off again? Maybe a 5th?
If the Eagles are able to trade Kendricks, that will create a new hole in the lineup. Is that a smart thing to do? Yes.
As mentioned above, Kendricks is a starter in name only. He is really a role player. You can’t pay a part-time LB more than $6M. That kind of money needs to be spent on a starter or key role player Kendricks was on the field about 17 snaps a game.
The Eagles could spend a mid-to late round pick on an OLB. They also have Kamu Grugier-Hill on the roster. He was only a STer this season, but could be someone they want to play on defense in the future. There will be some free agency options at a reasonable price. If Kendricks had a reasonable salary, he wouldn’t be going anywhere. This is all about making the best use of your resources. The Eagles would like someone cheaper to play his spot. And if they can get a draft pick in the process, that’s great.
Howie Roseman does a great job when it comes to trades. It will also help the Eagles that players they dealt last spring (DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso) played well or reasonably well for their new teams.
Roseman isn’t looking to dump dead wood on some other team. He’s got a solid asset. He just needs to find someone that needs a LB and is willing to make a deal with him.
I’m sure the talks will be hot and heavy at the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.