Mychal Kendricks

Extra Points: Cruz, Bengals, Eagles

The Giants are releasing wide receiver Victor Cruz, which will save them $7.5MM in 2017. Theoretically, they could attempt to bring back the 30-year-old at a lower cap charge next season, but there’s “no indication” they have any interest in doing that, writes Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com. Cruz spoke in the past tense about his six-year run with the Giants on Monday, saying: “I did some great things there. There are so many experiences, times and moments that I shared in that building with that team in that jersey. Those can’t be replaced or forgotten. I’m happy I have those moments to look back on.”

Cruz will ceremonially retire as a Giant someday and later end up in their Ring of Honor, opines Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. His next step, though, will be to head to the open market, where he could find a fit with the Panthers, suggests Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. There’s already a connection between Carolina and Cruz: Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman was the Giants’ director of pro personnel when Big Blue signed the wideout as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

The Broncos, meanwhile, got virtually no production last season from receivers not named Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders, but they haven’t had any discussions about pursuing Cruz, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

More from around the NFL:

  • Despite having over $43MM in cap space, the Bengals are unlikely to make any significant splashes in free agency, per Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Odds are greater that Cincinnati will focus on its own soon-to-be free agents – including left tackle Andrew Whitworth, guard Kevin Zeitler, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and receiver Brandon LaFell – writes Terrell, who notes that the club is also expecting to pick up plenty of help via the draft. On top of the picks the Bengals already have, the league could award them three or four compensatory selections this year as a result of the losses they incurred in free agency last offseason.
  • The Eagles are reportedly open to trading linebacker Mychal Kendricks, and it’s a “safe bet” they’ll move him if they’re able to acquire help at receiver, running back or cornerback in return, relays Tim McManus of ESPN.com.
  • Jabrill Peppers is unlikely to be a first-round pick, Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press opines. Peppers’ versatility is an asset, but he doesn’t clearly fit any one position either. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has called the Michigan star “a polarizing prospect” and a “tweener,” although he still has him going in the first round in his mock draft. Falling out of the first round could be good for Peppers, Monarrez argues, because it would put less pressure on him as he works to figure out his best role in the NFL.
  • Falcons defensive pass game coordinator Jerome Henderson was under consideration to become the 49ers’ defensive coordinator before they tabbed Robert Saleh for the role on Monday. Now that he’s not going to San Francisco, Henderson will stay in the same position in Atlanta, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • The Seahawks are parting with assistant linebackers coach Lofa Tatupu, who spent the previous two years on Pete Carroll‘s staff, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Tatupu is better known for his on-field work in Seattle, where he played from 2005-10 and earned three Pro Bowl nods.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Eagles Open To Trading Mychal Kendricks

The Eagles are hoping to clear “significant” financial room this offseason and that could include trading a longtime starter. The team is willing to move on from linebacker Mychal Kendricks this offseason, a source tells PhillyVoice’s Jimmy KempskiMychal Kendricks (vertical)

[RELATED: Eagles Expected To Pursue Alshon Jeffery]

Kendricks is slated to count for $6.6MM against the cap in 2017, but they could save $1.8MM by trading or releasing him. That still leaves $4.8MM in dead money, but every little bit of breathing room will help Philly this March. Kendricks also saw his playing time dip significantly under new head coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, so he wouldn’t necessarily be missed. From 2012 to 2015, Kendricks was a regular starter and he was a favorite of Chip Kelly from 2013-15. This past season, he was leapfrogged by Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham in the pecking order. Kendricks was in on 26.8% of the team’s snaps while Bradham and Hicks both eclipsed 95%.

Alternatively, the Eagles could designate Kendricks as a June 1st cut, resulting in $5MM savings right away with $3.2MM in dead money carrying over into 2018. However, Kempski hears it is not anticipated that the Eagles go that route and it’s not clear if they’ll even consider releasing him if a trade can’t be worked out.

The Eagles cannot trade Kendricks until the start of the new league year, which will begin at 4pm ET/3pm CT on March 9. After that, there’s another key date to keep in mind – March 11. That’s when $4.35MM of his $4.85MM 2017 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. That could leave Philly with a short window to get a palatable deal done.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Fisher, Kendricks, Dolphins

Jeff Fisher may already have a contract extension in place with the Rams but is declining to confirm it. Asked about rumors of a potential extension being signed, Fisher did not confirm or deny rumors connecting him to another Rams pact, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

I never talk about my personal stuff or my extensions or non-extensions or anything,” Fisher told media Thursday. “That’s between me and the organization.”

We heard earlier today Fisher and GM Les Snead were still likely to receive contract extensions despite the pair’s lack of substantial success with the franchise. The Rams have won seven games in three of Fisher’s four seasons and are coming off a 28-0 nationally televised defeat in their return as the Los Angeles Rams. While Fisher’s fared better than Scott Linehan or Steve Spagnuolo, who combined to coach four seasons with either three or fewer victories between 2007-11, many fans may not be thrilled an extension is coming. Florio posits the extension, if it has in fact been agreed to, will likely be announced after the Rams score a key victory this season.

Here’s more from around the league as the explosive Thursday-night game continues.

  • Mychal Kendricks agreed to a four-year, $29MM extension with the Chip Kelly-run Eagles last year but saw his role changed to that of a base defense-only linebacker in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense. The fifth-year ‘backer isn’t exactly ready to concede he’s not a three-down linebacker, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “I’m not putting my ego aside. I’m just putting it in check,” Kendricks said. “Trust me, that [stuff] is very much there. And quote that. Write that [stuff].” Sidelined during the preseason with a hamstring injury, Kendricks saw Nigel Bradham join Jordan Hicks in the Eagles’ nickel package in Week 1. None of Kendricks post-2016 money is fully guaranteed, McLane writes. Kendricks would see $4.35MM become fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2017 league year, however, if he remains on Philadelphia’s roster by then.
  • The Dolphins should cut bait with Ryan Tannehill if he doesn’t take a step forward this season, Doug Keyd of NESN.com opines. Tannehill’s $11.6MM cap number balloons to $20.3MM in 2017, tied for sixth highest among quarterbacks and ahead of guys like Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, and Ben Roethlisberger. For what it’s worth, New England coach Bill Belichick already seems to think that Tannehill is a solid QB. “He’s a good quarterback,” Belichick said. “He’s smart, he handles the offense well, he certainly takes control of things at the line of scrimmage, as we’ve seen quarterbacks do in Coach [Adam] Gase’s offense. It obviously runs through the quarterbacks. It tracks adjustments, but he’s a good decision maker, he’s athletic, throws the ball well. He can certainly make plays out of the pocket. … He’s a good player. He’s definitely a problem for us.”
  • The Raiders‘ potential trek to Las Vegas will still rely on owners getting behind a Mark Davis-backed venture, something that shouldn’t be considered a sure thing, Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com writes. Ratto writes the Jaguars and Chargers are the two logical candidates for the NFL to place in Vegas if the stadium deal is agreed upon. Neither has been seriously connected to a Nevada move. However, Ratto notes Jerry Jones‘ power among the owners shouldn’t be dismissed. Despite working against the Raiders in February to push the Rams to Los Angeles, Jones has voiced support for a Raiders-to-Vegas venture and could be expected to whip votes if this measure reaches a vote.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

NFC Rumors: Kelly, Eagles, Randle, Cowboys

Chip Kelly told Philadelphia-area media, including Jeff McLane of Philly.com, he didn’t communicate directly with Howie Roseman last season before being fired by the Eagles. The current 49ers coach said owner Jeffrey Lurie constructed an arrangement where the then-demoted Roseman sent messages to the then-empowered Kelly through player personnel VP Ed Marynowitz.

Kelly also asserted he didn’t control the contracts given to Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray, with the three-year Eagles coach telling media Roseman, who has since traded both players, constructed those deals.

I wasn’t the personnel guy. I was in charge of the 90-man roster,” Kelly said. “But I didn’t negotiate and say this guy gets this amount of money and that guy gets that amount of money. And Ed was the one who ran our personnel department. That really fell on Ed’s shoulders in terms of how he handled everything. And Ed communicated with him all the time.

Here’s some more on the Eagles and news from some additional NFC teams.

  • Former Eagles first-round linebacker Marcus Smith will move to defensive end in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 scheme, Zach Berman of Philly.com reports. Doug Pederson told media, including Berman, his linebackers right now will consist of Mychal Kendricks on the weak side, Jordan Hicks in the middle and Nigel Bradham on the strong side.
  • The Vikings inquired about Rueben Randle early in free agency, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets, but no substantial interest materialized prior to Randle choosing to trek to Philadelphia.
  • The Giants, however, had no interest in re-signing Randle, Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger tweets. John Mara said last week the Giants were going to seek receiving help, but the market has been mostly raided in terms of notable first-time free agents. Veterans Roddy White, Marques Colston and Percy Harvin remain unsigned.
  • The Cowboys are expected meet with Paxton Lynch again before the draft after doing so in a productive meeting today, NFL.com’s Rand Getlin tweets. Dallas is allotted 30 visits with prospects.
  • Washington safety Kyshoen Jarrett‘s status is uncertain for this season, with Jay Gruden telling media — including JP Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com — he’s “very concerned” about the lack of strength in Jarrett’s shoulder presently. A key backup and part-time starter as a rookie last season, Jarrett was injured in Week 17 against the Cowboys.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Extra Points: Cowboys, Wilkerson

The Cowboys made the wise decision to select ex-Notre Dame offensive guard Zack Martin 16th overall in the 2014 draft, but they did so against owner Jerry Jones’ wishes, chief operating officer Stephen Jones – Jerry’s son – told David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

“Let’s go over this quarterback thing one more time,” said Jerry Jones, despite hearing endorsements of Martin from Stephen Jones, senior director of college/pro personnel Will McClay, head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

The Cowboys then tried – and failed – to move down in the draft before settling on Martin.

“Son, if you want to do special things in life, you can’t keep picking and doing things down the middle,” Jerry said to Stephen afterward. “What we just did was down the middle.”

Martin did special things as a rookie, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. Quarterback Johnny Manziel, whom Dallas could have taken instead of Martin, had a poor first year both on and off the field and enters his second season backing up journeyman Josh McCown in Cleveland.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported earlier Saturday that the Jets and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson are far apart on contract talks and unlikely to continue negotiating when the season starts Sunday. However, there is not – nor has there ever been – a hard Sunday deadline to get a deal done, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). That means the two sides could still hammer out a long-term extension during the season.
  • Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt, speaking to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link), showered praise on rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. “It was amazing how quickly our team bonded with Mariota. He has a businesslike professional approach. Doesn’t get rattled.” Mariota, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, will square off against the No. 1 selection, Bucs QB Jameis Winston, on Sunday.
  • The Browns won’t improve on their 7-9 record from 2014 without another big year from their defensive backfield, writes Tom Reed of Cleveland.com. The group includes three Pro Bowlers in Joe Haden, Tashaun Gipson and Donte Whitner. Gipson believes he’s part of the best secondary in the league. “Any time you get together this kind of talent nothing bad can go wrong in our eyes,” he said. “If we execute the game plan and play fast I feel there’s no better secondary out than us.”
  • The five-year, $45MM extension the Cowboys signed Tyrone Crawford to Saturday makes the Eagles’ recent four-year, $29MM pact with Mychal Kendricks look better, opines former Eagles and Browns executive Joe Banner. Kendricks’ deal is the best one any team has given out this year, Banner thinks (Twitter link).

NFC Notes: Galette, Chancellor, Falcons

The hits keep coming for Junior Galette, as the Saints are claiming that the veteran outside linebacker voided the guarantee on his base salary of $1.25MM for this season and don’t intend to pay any of that money, according to two sources who spoke with Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

It’s not clear exactly how the team believes Galette voided that guarantee, and there’s no indication the Saints are trying to get back any of the $12.5MM they paid him in the spring, but that $1.25MM figures to be a point of contention. Galette, who signed with Washington in the offseason, suffered a torn Achilles and has been ruled out for the season.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • While it hasn’t received the sort of attention that a quarterback’s holdout would, the Kam Chancellor situation is drawing plenty of interest around the NFL, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who writes that teams – and even some agents – don’t want to see the Seahawks cave to their star safety. In La Canfora’s view, the club has to be willing to see if Chancellor will give up game checks.
  • According to former agent Joel Corry (via Twitter), Chancellor’s holdout has cost him his salary guarantee for this season, unless his contract language is different from other Seattle deals. Meanwhile, former team executive Andrew Brandt suggests (via Twitter) that he thinks the Seahawks will waive Chancellor’s fines if and when he reports, but the team can’t say that now, since there’d be no incentive for Chancellor to end his holdout.
  • Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports has some details on the Eagles‘ new deal with Mychal Kendricks, tweeting that the linebacker got a signing bonus worth $8MM and will get $16.9MM over the next three years.
  • The Falcons considered signing offensive guard Evan Mathis, but elected not to pull the trigger on a deal, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “We certainly did evaluate him,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. Thomas [Dimitroff] and I both did.” Mathis, of course, signed with the Broncos on Tuesday. A deal with the Falcons would have marked a homecoming of sorts for the Birmingham native.
  • In an effort to cut back on his day-to-day involvement, 72-year-old Falcons owner Arthur Blank will hire a CEO to oversee all of his for-profit businsess, including the Falcons, writes Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Lions, Taliaferro, Chancellor

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, the Lions‘ second-round pick in 2014, had half of his rookie season wiped out by a stint on injured reserve, and he never got fully healthy after he returned, contributing just six tackles for the year. After undergoing hip surgery earlier this year, Van Noy had higher hopes for the 2015 campaign, but the 24-year-old continues to be nagged by injury issues with the season approaching.

According to head coach Jim Caldwell, the first opinion Van Noy received on his latest injury suggested more surgery isn’t necessary at this point, but the team is seeking a second opinion (Twitter link via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com). While it’s possible that Van Noy lands in Detroit’s IR-DTR spot again, the timetable on his return isn’t clear yet, and the club may want to save that designation this time around.

Let’s check in on several more items from around the NFL…

  • Caldwell also said today that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of two fullbacks – Michael Burton and Emil Igwenagu – making the Lions‘ roster (Twitter link via Rothstein).
  • Phones are lighting up across the league as teams look to make trades before the roster cutdown to 75 players next week, tweets Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com. Russini adds that, despite all the chatter, it’s not clear how many deals will actually go down.
  • Ravens coach John Harbaugh says running back Lorenzo Taliaferro will miss a “few weeks” with an MCL sprain, writes Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com. Taliaferro was listed as the Ravens No. 2 running back behind Justin Forsett, but now rookie fourth-round pick Buck Allen figures to see an increased workload for the rest of the preseason — and potentially early in the regular season.
  • Drawing on his past experience as an NFL executive, Jeff Diamond of The Sporting News takes a closer look at Kam Chancellor‘s holdout, suggesting that GM John Schneider and the Seahawks will have to consider the possibility of trading Chancellor if his holdout extends into September.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks said that his new extension came together within the last two weeks or so.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

East Notes: Galette, Wayne, Brady, Ryans

There’s “a feeling” in Washington that the team will learn this week whether or not veteran pass rusher Junior Galette will face a suspension for any off-field incidents, writes John Keim of ESPN.com. Washington didn’t waste much time picking up Galette after he was released by the Saints, suggesting the front office wasn’t expecting a significant penalty. According to Keim, the club is hopeful that any Galette suspension would be for two games or less.

Here’s more from out of the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Josina Anderson of ESPN.com provides a couple specific figures on Reggie Wayne‘s new contract with the Patriots, tweeting that has a maximum value of $2.8MM and features a $450K signing bonus. According to Wayne, he fielded “a lot of serious calls from some good teams,” but decided New England was the best fit for him, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Attorneys for the NFL and NFLPA met yesterday for another settlement conference regarding Tom Brady‘s case, but – as expected – the session didn’t lead to an agreement, tweets Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. The next hearing in Judge Richard Berman’s court regarding the Patriots quarterback is scheduled for August 31.
  • Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links) wonders what the Mychal Kendricks extension means for Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans. As McLane explains, he heard earlier this year that Kendricks would likely only play one more season in Philadelphia, so the apparent change of heart from the team may be related to Ryans, who turned 31 last month.
  • E.J. Manuel acknowledged during training camp this year that he knows his days with the Bills may be numbered if he doesn’t play well. However, as Sal Capaccio of WGR550 details, Manuel says he loves playing in Buffalo: “I want to stay here.”

Eagles, Mychal Kendricks Agree To Extension

The Eagles and linebacker Mychal Kendricks agreed to a four-year, $29MM contract extension, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). His deal includes a healthy $16.4MM guaranteed, a league source tells Caplan. Mychal Kendricks (vertical)

There was a great deal of speculation throughout the offseason that the Eagles could move Kendricks. However, coach/chief decision maker Chip Kelly was adamant that Kendricks wouldn’t be going anywhere. Kelly changed up his roster quite a bit this spring, but he stayed true to his word when it came to the 24-year-old (25 in September).

Given that the Eagles made several additions at inside linebacker during the offseason, it was fair to speculate if 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.

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.

Kendricks has been a starting inside linebacker for the Eagles since entering the league as the 46th overall pick in 2012. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the former second-round pick was one of the league’s best ILBs last season, despite only playing 12 games — his grades as a pass rusher and in pass coverage were among the best at his position. He said during OTAs that he had not been approached about an extension, but it appears that things have changed over the last few weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chip Kelly: Mychal Kendricks Won’t Be Traded

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.”