Mychal Kendricks

AFC Notes: Condo, Colts, Jets, Kendricks

Long snapper Jon Condo spent 12 years with the Raiders, earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods along the way. However, the organization moved on from the 36-year-old this offseason, opting to roll with a younger alternative in Andrew DePaola.

While Condo may have 176 games under his belt, he isn’t planning on hanging up his cleats any time soon.

“I’m a free agent right now,” Condo told Mike Boytim of the Altoona Mirror“My first year was 2005, so I’ve been in the league for 13 years. I’m happy with where I’m at, but I’m also hungry to get back out on the field. If a team comes calling, I’m definitely staying available and keeping in shape. I want to make myself ready for the opportunity.”

While Condo had a visit with the Texans earlier this offseason, he understands that his opportunities have essentially dried up. However, he’s still optimistic that a job could open up during the preseason.

“There’s definitely teams interested,” Condo said. “But with me being 36 years old, they want to give the reps to the younger guys. They know what I can do. If they want to see me, they can put on 12 years of film. I’ve spoken with my agent, and he told me a lot of teams are interested in me, but right now it’s a matter of someone getting hurt or a team losing confidence in their guy.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • While Titans undrafted rookie wideout Deontay Burnett is talented, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com believes fellow undrafted receivers Jordan Veasy and Devin Ross were more impressive during OTAs. When asked which other undrafted rookies could crack Tennessee’s 53-man roster, Wyatt pointed to running back Akrum Wadley and linebacker Sharif Finch.
  • The Colts have a number of talented offensive and defensive linemen on their roster, and Kevin Bowen of 1070TheFan.com writes that the team will have to cut bait with some notable names. For instance, offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark and Jeremy Vujnovich could end up being on the chopping block, while defensive linemen Margus Hunt, Chris McCain, Hassan Ridgeway, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all fighting for limited roster spots.
  • The Jets signed linebacker Avery Williamson to a three-year, $22.5MM contract back in March, but Brian Costello of the New York Post writes that there’s no certainty he’ll be a three-down player. His former team, the Titans, would take Williamson out of the game during passing downs, but Jets head coach Todd Bowles has expressed optimism that the linebacker will remain on the field in all scenarios. While Costello doesn’t sound all too bullish on that sentiment, he does believe Williamson will end up being a primary pass rusher for his new team.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com lists Mychal Kendricks as the Browns‘ “key linebacker.” The 27-year-old sat out minicamp as he recovered from offseason ankle surgery, but it shouldn’t take long for him to fit in with his new team, as he has the versatility to play any of the linebacker spots. Cabot writes that Kendricks will initially contribute as the “Will” linebacker, although that means he’s behind Christian Kirksey on the depth chart. “Being more in the box, run front, blitzing, covering backs and tight ends from the Will is what he’s done,” said linebackers coach Blake Williams“That’s where he’ll definitely start out from the get-go to make sure that it’s as seamless a transition as possible. As he can take more, we can move him around more, but we want him to have confidence and success to start out with.”

Extra Points: Bucs, Butt, Browns, Dobbs

The NFL is still investigating Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for allegedly groping an Uber driver in 2016. It’s been seven months since an unnamed woman’s allegation surfaced, but NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times) the matter “remains under review.” Winston has long denied any wrongdoing, but even if no charges were brought, the fourth-year quarterback could face NFL discipline. The Bucs open the season with games against the Saints, Eagles and Steelers. They re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started three games last season, in preparation for this, Stroud notes, adding that they believe the 35-year-old veteran is the best option to navigate that stretch if Winston is suspended. Of course, if the Bucs go into training camp without knowing if Winston will be suspended, it could make allocating reps difficult.

As minicamp week concludes, here’s the latest news:

  • The Browns plan to slot Mychal Kendricks at weakside linebacker going into camp, per Zac Jackson of The Athletic (subscription required). Christian Kirksey played every snap at that spot last season and is signed long-term. Jackson doesn’t see him losing his job. The Browns believe Kendricks can play all three linebacker positions, but how Cleveland distributes playing time will be interesting since Jamie Collins — the league’s highest-paid off-ball linebacker — and 2017 Pro Bowler Joe Schobert are the other incumbents. It’s arguable Kendricks, long upset with his role in Philadelphia, had an easier path to playing time with the defending Super Bowl champions than he does with a team coming off an 0-16 season.
  • Excluding the 2 1/2 seasons Peyton Manning was healthy for the Broncos, the franchise has not been able to generate much from its tight end spot this decade. The Broncos, though, might have their best chance in a while to do so with one-time highly regarded prospect Jake Butt healthy. After essentially redshirting in 2017, which does not count as an accrued-service year for Butt since he spent it on Denver’s PUP list, the Michigan product could be in position to start. “He looks healthy, finally,” Vance Joseph said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “ … Right now, he’s totally healthy.” The Broncos have struggled for three years to generate much in the passing game outside of their two starting wideouts, but with Butt in the mix, Case Keenum figures to have more options than his immediate predecessors. Denver used a 2017 third-round pick on Carlos Henderson only to see him miss all of his rookie year, and the Broncos now have second- and fourth-round picks Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton potentially ready to fill the auxiliary pass-catcher void.
  • File this away to the what-if department: had the Buccaneers not selected O.J. Howard at No. 19 overall last year, they were “poised” to take Dalvin Cook, Stroud notes. This would have been a wildly different path for Cook, who sat on the board until the Vikings selected him at No. 41 overall. Tampa Bay instead waited a year to make a big draft investment at this position, taking Ronald Jones at No. 38 this year.
  • The SteelersMason Rudolph selection will likely leave Joshua Dobbs as the odd man out in Pittsburgh, barring injury. Pittsburgh is expected to go into the season with Ben Roethlisberger, Rudolph and Landry Jones as its three quarterbacks, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes, leaving 2017 draftee Dobbs as either trade bait or waiver wire fodder. Jones is due $2.2MM this season but would profile as the veteran backup to complement the developing Rudolph.

North Rumors: Steelers, Vikings, Browns

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier will not play in 2018 after suffering a devastating spinal injury in 2017, but he today reiterated his desire to resume his career at some point, per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). Meeting with the media for the first time since his injury, Shazier took an optimistic tone, but it’s unclear if he’ll ever realistically have the chance to step on the field as a player again. Pittsburgh has already placed him on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he’s now ineligible to play during the upcoming campaign. In something of a goodwill gesture, the Steelers also converted the majority of Shazier’s 2018 base salary into a signing bonus, allowing the former first-round pick to collect his entire paycheck immediately.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Vikings have lost undrafted free agent edge rusher Hercules Mata’afa for the season after he suffered a torn ACL today, reports Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com (Twitter link). While he ultimately wasn’t selected in the draft, Mata’afa was labeled as a potential fifth-rounder by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, who lauded Mata’afa’s toughness and motor. Mata’afa, a Washington State product, would have had to make the Minnesota roster on special teams, but he’ll now have to wait until his second NFL season for another opportunity. He’ll be waived/injured and removed from the Vikings’ active roster, and then placed on injured reserve if he’s not claimed.
  • Mychal Kendricksone-year, $3.5MM deal with the Browns contains a $500K signing bonus and a $1.4MM base salary, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com. As such, it appears Kendricks is due either a roster bonus or a significant total in per-game roster bonuses. Either way, his new pact doesn’t appear to guarantee him a roster spot in Cleveland, especially given the Browns’ depth at the position. Cleveland believes Kendricks can play all three linebacker positions, but the club already boasts Jamie Collins, Christian Kirksey, and Joe Schobert at the second level, meaning snaps could be sparse for Kendricks.
  • The NFL announced it has fined the Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh, and docked the club its final two organized team activity sessions, following a “violation of offseason workout rules.” While the infraction is unclear, it’s possible — based both on Baltimore’s history and the club’s statement — that players were either asked to hit or practice for too long a duration, violating the collective bargaining agreement.

Browns Sign LB Mychal Kendricks

The Browns have agreed to a deal with veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks, according to his agent, Doug Hendrickson (on Twitter). Kendricks and the Browns agreed to a one-year, $3.5 MM pact, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Kendricks was released by the Eagles last month after reportedly refusing to take a pay cut of $4.5MM. He has spent the last six seasons with the Eagles and visited with the Vikings and Raiders, along with the Browns. The Eagles took Kendricks in the second round of the 2012 draft. Kendricks’ brother, Eric, was a second-round choice of the Vikings in 2015 as a linebacker as well.

The 27-year-old is expected to report to the Browns’ OTAs on Tuesday, per Cabot. He’ll compete for a starting spot in the 4-3 scheme of Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, with 2017 Pro-Bowler Joe Schobert, Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey. Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports reported late last week that Kendricks was expected to immediately assume a starting role with the Browns.

Kendricks appeared in 15 games last season, starting 13, and racked up 75 tackles. He also logged 16 tackles in the postseason amid the Eagles’ run to their first-ever Super Bowl title. Pro Football Focus rated Kendricks as the No. 9 linebacker in the NFL.

The Eagles had shopped Kendricks around before his May release but were unable to move him during or prior to the draft. Kendricks had also requested a trade in the 2016 offseason after diminished playing time in 2015 and ’16 but was pressed into action last season after a season-ending Achilles injury to Jordan Hicks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Bears, Browns, Ragnow

Fans of another Midwestern team will recognize much of what the 2018 Bears‘ offense looks like. Matt Nagy said, via Dan Pompei of The Athletic (subscription required) the Bears’ offense will be 70-80 percent the same as what the Chiefs run under Andy Reid.

It will be different in some regards, which is only fair to our coaches on offense and the ideas they have,” Nagy said. “But the identity is going to be the same. It will feel very similar to Kansas City’s. We’re in the lab now. That’s the fun part. All the coaches are giving their ideas and thoughts. Coach [Reid] always said he had 51 percent of the say. So ultimately, he had final say. Now I have that. There are plays I liked that Coach [Reid] didn’t like, so now those plays are in.

Reid and Nagy each had roles as the Chiefs’ primary play-caller during the pair’s two years working in an HC-OC relationship, with Nagy’s shift toward play-calling responsibilities coinciding with Kansas City’s late-season charge toward a second straight AFC West title. He’ll attempt to replicate that with the Bears.

With OTAs continuing for some and minicamps starting elsewhere this week, here’s the latest from the North divisions.

  • The Browns believe Mychal Kendricks can play all three linebacker positions, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. Lining up the ex-Eagles starter — who is set to sign with the Browns on Monday — in the middle would give him the best chance of starting, with Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey on the outside. However, Joe Schobert started all 16 Browns games as the middle linebacker and was the top-rated (per Pro Football Focus) Browns ‘backer last season. Kendricks was unhappy with his role with the Eagles, but in Cleveland, the Browns’ recent futility notwithstanding, he’s going to be playing with a deeper group of linebackers. A three-down role won’t be guaranteed. Of course, the previous Browns regime re-signed Collins and extended Kirksey, which could complicate matters a bit as John Dorsey steps into his first full season with the franchise.
  • Also in Cleveland, Browns coaches are high on Duke Johnson, despite the team signing Carlos Hyde and drafting Nick Chubb, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com envisions an extension coming to fruition this offseason. The Browns have nearly $70MM in cap space, and Johnson would seemingly fit alongside either Hyde or Chubb as a passing-down back. The sides have been discussing a re-up for a bit now.
  • Despite being open to Joel Bitonio as Joe Thomas‘ replacement, the Browns kept him at left guard at OTAs this week, per Terry Pluto of cleveland.com. Bitonio would prefer to stay at guard, and the Browns — who drafted Austin Corbett, Bitonio’s left tackle successor at Nevada — in Round 2. Corbett is currently working behind Shon Coleman at left tackle.
  • On the subject of rookie offensive linemen’s roles, the Lions have begun first-round pick Frank Ragnow‘s tenure at guard, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com notes, adding he took some first-team reps at that spot. This is interesting considering Graham Glasgow played well at guard last season. The Lions have T.J. Lang entrenched at the other guard slot and signed ex-Jets center Wesley Johnson. However, Detroit’s discussed the notion of moving Glasgow to center. Ragnow played center for all but one game as an upperclassman but started throughout his sophomore season at guard for Arkansas.
  • Tyler Matakevich underwent surgery to repair three areas — his rotator cuff, labrum and a biceps muscle — repaired shortly after the Steelers‘ divisional-round loss to the Jaguars. And the Steelers subsequently signed Jon Bostic, seemingly to replace Ryan Shazier this season. However, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes Matakevich was the first-string inside linebacker alongside Vince Williams throughout OTAs this week. While this situation is likely far from being settled, the Steelers holding a competition between a 2016 seventh-round pick and a sixth-year veteran who started 14 games last season is interesting.

Browns Finalizing Mychal Kendricks Deal

This appears to be real this time. Jordan Schultz of Yahoo.com reports (via Twitter) confirms a report from earlier today via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com indicating Mychal Kendricks will sign with the Browns.

Schultz adds the Browns will pay Kendricks up to $3.5MM on his one-year deal, and Rapoport confirms he’ll make at least $3MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reported Kendricks is expected to sign the deal Monday. Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press confirms Schultz’s report (Twitter link).

This process became rather strange when the linebacker emphatically refuted Rapoport’s initial report of him being Cleveland-bound. And Kendricks continued to be evasive Sunday night, hanging up when Tomasson attempted to contact him regarding Schultz’s report of the $3.5MM agreement (Twitter link).

Kendricks visited the Browns, Vikings and Raiders this week but will be the latest high-profile newcomer to make a trip to Cleveland, joining the likes of Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Baker Mayfield and others. A seventh-year player, Kendricks will be in line to start alongside Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey in the Browns’ 4-3 scheme. Even if Kendricks reaches that $3.5MM mark, he’ll be the third-highest-paid Browns linebacker. Collins is on Cleveland’s books at $12.2MM in 2018, with Kirksey slotting in at a $6.2MM cap number.

The 27-year-old ‘backer will add to a talented Browns defensive second level, having graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 9 linebacker last season. He did this despite being involved in Eagles trade rumors for years. Extended during Chip Kelly‘s one year with personnel control, Kendricks was soon seen as an ill-fitting piece in Jim Schwartz’s system. He served as the third linebacker for Philadelphia in 2016, behind Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, but became a key cog during the Eagles’ Super Bowl campaign after Hicks went down with a season-ending injury.

It will be interesting to see how Gregg Williams deploys Kendricks, since he already has two sub-package ‘backers in Collins and Kirksey. And Pro Bowler Joe Schobert started 16 games for Cleveland last season. Nevertheless, the Browns will attempt to fit the ex-Eagle into the fold, and he figures to play considerably in 2018 — a year that will serve as an audition year for Kendricks as free agency could again loom in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Mychal Kendricks

Mychal Kendricks emphatically said he remains a free agent, despite a report earlier Sunday that tabbed the linebacker as Cleveland-bound. However, this process may still be headed toward that conclusion.

The former Eagles linebacker vehemently denied the report he’s agreed to terms with the Browns, but Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Kendricks is close to signing with Cleveland. She adds the deal is expected to be done by Monday.

The older brother of Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links) he’s still on the market, but if Cabot’s report is accurate, he may not be for long. If the 27-year-old off-ball linebacker does end up with the Browns, his staunch denial he’d agreed to Cleveland’s terms will signify an interesting start to his tenure with the franchise.

Cleveland remains the favorite to land the linebacker, per agent Doug Hendrickson (via Jordan Schultz of Yahoo.com, on Twitter), and NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn reports Kendricks texted him he’s still negotiating with “a number of teams” (Twitter link).

Kendricks visited the Browns, Vikings and Raiders. Should he join the Browns, he’d be part of one of the better (and more expensive) sets of linebacking contingents in the game considering Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey are already tied to the Browns long-term. Although the Browns have eight-figure-per-year payments lined up for both Collins and Kirksey, they have by far the most cap space in the league at $69MM-plus. The Vikings hold $17.6MM, and the Raiders sit at barely $2MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns To Sign LB Mychal Kendricks?

3:37pm: Kendricks denies that he’s signed with the Browns, tweets Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

2:14pm: The Browns have agreed to sign free agent linebacker Mychal Kendricks to a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Kendricks, who was released by the Eagles on May 22, drew immediate interest on the open market, and took meetings with both the Raiders and Vikings before visiting the Browns on Friday. After leaving Oakland and Minnesota without a contract, Kendricks has now landed a single-season pact with Cleveland, a deal which will allow the 27-year-old to hit free agency again next spring.

At first glance, the Browns are something of an odd fit for Kendricks, as Cleveland already employs two linebackers — Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert — who played 100% of the club’s defensive snaps a year ago. Jamie Collins is expected to return from injury as a full-time player, leaving even less potential playing time for Kendricks. A future trade could hypothetically be possible, but both Kirksey and Collins recently signed long-term deals with the Browns, while Schobert is under contract at cheap rates for the next two seasons.

Cleveland still has the most salary cap space in the NFL (Over the Cap listed the Browns with nearly $70MM in reserves prior to the Kendricks signing), so perhaps the club is merely looking to add depth. Oakland and Minnesota are also largely set at linebacker, meaning Kendricks may have experienced limited playing time in either of those destinations, so he likely accepted his largest financial offer. And while Kendricks hasn’t typically been a special teams ace, he did play roughly 30% of the Eagles’ ST snaps in 2016, so he can be a factor there.

Long a subject of trade rumors, Kendricks appeared in 15 games and made 13 starts for Philadelphia in 2017. A season-ending injury to fellow linebacker Jordan Hicks allowed Kendricks to reclaim his spot in the Eagles’ starting lineup, and he subsequently posted 51 tackles and two sacks while grading as the NFL’s No. 9 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Meet With Mychal Kendricks

The Browns will meet with linebacker Mychal Kendricks on Friday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. The Browns scheduled a visit with Kendricks earlier this week and his powwow with the team means that his previous meetings with the Vikings and Raiders have not yielded a deal – at least, not yet. 

[RELATED: Several Big Name NFL Free Agents Still Available]

Kendricks, ostensibly, is looking for a decent payout on his next deal. He also says that he’s looking for significant playing time.

I kind of understood the situation,’ Kendricks told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It’s something that I’ve been asking for. … I didn’t ask to be released but I asked for a trade a year prior to this. So, yeah, I’m trying to be in a situation where I can play a big role and really contribute.”

With the Browns, Kendricks would join a linebacker group that is presently headlined by Jamie Collins, Christian KirkseyJoe Schobert, and James Burgess. The Browns may also represent his best opportunity at a big payday as they are armed with a league-high $71MM in cap space. That’s significantly more money to work with than most teams and nearly $20MM more than the Colts, who have the second-most cap room in the NFL.

Last year, Kendricks had 51 tackles and two sacks in 15 games for the Eagles. He also earned a start in the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory and finished the game with four tackles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Kendricks, Raiders, Colts, Simon

Mychal Kendricks‘ left his visit with the Raiders on Wednesday without signing a deal, as Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. With that in mind, Kendricks’ scheduled visit with the Browns should take place this week.

Kendricks has been vocal about his desire to play with his brother in Minnesota, but the Vikings’ level of interest is not immediately clear following their meeting. Minnesota arguably would give Kendricks the easiest path towards another Super Bowl ring, but the Browns – armed with upwards of $70MM in cap room – could be the highest bidder of the bunch. The Raiders, meanwhile, would have to do some maneuvering to sign Kendricks given that they have just $1.7MM in cap room.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Colts could conceivably cut John Simon this summer, Stephen Holder of the Indy Star writes. Simon performed well in an injury-shortened 2017, but new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is looking to play him at defensive end rather than middle or strong-side linebacker. Simon, listed at (a perhaps inflated) 6’2″and 260 pounds, is undersized for DE and may not have the speed needed to get around pass blockers. Given that Simon is now battling with edge rushers like Jabaal Sheard, Tarell Basham, Kemoko Turay, Chris McCain, Tyquan Lewis, it’s possible that he might not make the final cut. Simon, who signed a three-year, $14MM deal with the Colts just last year, has no guaranteed money remaining on his deal. The Colts would save $3.28MM against the cap by releasing Simon.
  • Darryl Slater of NJ.com estimates that any suspension for Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson would be of the shorter variety. Recently, Florida prosecutors dropped felony charges against Anderson, though he still faces six charges stemming from a January incident in which he was arrested and threatened to sexually assault the wife of a police officer.