After months of speculation, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly today told reporters, including Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com, that linebacker Mychal Kendricks will not be traded. A report earlier this afternoon indicated that Kendricks was likely to stay in Philadelphia and act as an “insurance policy.”
“Mychal Kendricks is not going anywhere, I can tell you that right now,” said Kelly. “You can write that down in ink, not pencil. He’s not going anywhere.”
Given that the Eagles made several additions at inside linebacker during the offseason, it was fair to speculate if the 24-year-old Kendricks was a candidate to be dealt to another club. Philadelphia not only renegotiated veteran DeMeco Ryans‘ contract, ensuring that he’ll stay with the team in 2015, but traded for former Bill Kiko Alonso, signed ex-Packer Brad Jones, and drafted Jordan Hicks in the third round.
Ryans and Alonso project as the Eagles’ starters inside, so given that Kendricks is entering the final year of his rookie contract, it made sense that the club would try to get some sort of compensation now, especially if they don’t plan to re-sign him. Kendricks has started 40 games over the past three seasons, and graded as the league’s fifth-best inside linebacker in 2014, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Throw in Kendricks’ contract — an acquiring team would be on the hook for just under $1MM — and Philadelphia could probably find a decent return for the Cal alum.
Reports earlier this year indicated that the Eagles did shop Kendricks during the draft, and were asking for as much as a second-round pick. Teams reportedly balked at the request, but Kendricks was also rumored to be part of a proposed package to acquire the No. 1 or No. 2 pick, in the hopes of selecting quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The Eagles have certainly been no strangers to the trade market during the past few months. In addition to swinging a deal for Alonso (by giving up running back LeSean McCoy), the club also acquired quarterback Sam Bradford (and picks) from the Rams for fellow QB Nick Foles (and picks). And just last night, Philadelphia traded slot corner Brandon Boykin to the Steelers for a mid-round pick.
For his part, Kendricks said during OTAs that he had not been approached about an extension, and today, after acknowledging that Kelly had told him he would not be traded, Kendricks said he’d rather focus on the season at hand.
“That doesn’t even matter man,” Kendricks said. “We’re here to play ball and to do the best that we can do while we’re here. After the season is after the season. We’ll worry about that then. Until then I’m just going to ball out like I’ve been doing.”