Mychal Kendricks

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Rams, Seahawks

While the NFL announced its new national anthem policy as a unanimous decision, only 31 teams actually voted on the measure. 49ers owner Jed York said his club abstained from voting on the change, which will penalize teams if any of their players do not stand for the national anthem, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. In a related move, York indicated the 49ers will close concession stands during the anthem. “I don’t think we should profit during the national anthem if we’re going to ask people to be respectful,” York said, per Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com (Twitter link). York supported his former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as the progenitor of the national anthem protest movement, so his stance on the matter at hand shouldn’t be too surprising.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • While the Rams seemingly upgraded at nearly every conceivable position this offseason, the club’s linebacker depth chart is still relatively weak after it traded Alec Ogletree to the Giants earlier this year. Nevertheless, don’t expect Los Angeles to be a major suitor for free agent ‘backer Mychal Kendricks, who was released by the Eagles on Monday, according to Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter link). Cory Littleton, Ramik Wilson, and rookie fifth-rounder Micah Kiser are among the candidates to play opposite entrenched starter Mark Barron, and the Rams are content to let those contenders battle for playing time. Kendricks, for his part, shouldn’t want for interest, as he’s the most coveted linebacker on the open market at present.
  • Seahawks offensive tackle George Fant, who suffered a torn ACL last August, is progressing normally and should be available for the start of the 2018 campaign, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes. Fant may even be ready for training camp, as the early nature of his injury has allowed him to recover in time for this summer’s activities. Seattle’s starting left tackle for 10 games in 2016, won’t have any chance of re-claiming that spot during the upcoming season, as the Seahawks have since acquired veteran Duane Brown to hold down the blindside. However, Fant will work as a reserve on the left side, and could even compete with former first-round pick Germain Ifedi for playing time at right tackle.
  • Reuben Foster will now be welcome back to the 49ers’ facilities after the domestic violence charges against him were dropped earlier today, and San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan had been in regular contact before today’s decision, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Shanahan revealed he’d been talking to Foster once or twice per week during his ongoing legal case, enabling him to check in on the linebacker’s state of mind.

East Rumors: Kendricks, Jets, Patriots

The long-rumored Mychal Kendricks/Eagles divorce will officially be classified as a post-June 1 cut, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The defending Super Bowl champions will see a $6MM cap spike on June 2 instead of seeing $4.4MM in savings by eschewing the post-June 1 cut category. That will help a franchise that, as of Tuesday night, holds barely $300K in cap space. As for why Kendricks was finally axed after years of being the subject of trade rumors, the defender’s standing as the No. 3 linebacker on a team that spends most of its time in sub-packages was not a status he preferred, per Zach Berman of Philly.com (on Twitter). Former Eagles teammate Emmanuel Acho, indicating he spoke with Kendricks on Tuesday, confirmed as much (via Twitter).

During Chip Kelly‘s year running football operations, the Eagles signed Kendricks to a four-year, $29MM extension that ran through the 2019 season. But Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, the latter being recently re-signed for $40MM over five years, reside as Philly’s top-two linebackers under optimal circumstances. Kendricks played a key role in the Eagles’ first Super Bowl title, stepping in alongside Bradham after Hicks went down, but the previous status quo is now back in place. And Kendricks should be a coveted commodity on the market.

Here’s the latest on Tuesday’s other big transaction, as well as more from some eastern-based franchises.

  • The Jets tried to trade Christian Hackenberg during the draft, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports. This began after Sam Darnold went to the Jets at No. 3, per Cimini, but judging by the terms of Tuesday’s trade, no strong interest came New York’s way for its 2016 second-round pick. “We had one too many (quarterbacks) to get all of them reps,” Todd Bowles said Tuesday. “We just want to go with the three quarterbacks we have and let these guys battle it out. … I like the talent (Hackenberg) had. Obviously, it didn’t cultivate here. Sometimes it takes a team or two or three to find your spot.” After cutting Bryce Petty and trading Hackenberg, Gang Green’s quarterback setup is clear now. Darnold, Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater will likely be the team’s three passers heading into training camp. However, as Calvin Watkins of Newsday notes (on Twitter), Bowles aid the Jets are open to adding another quarterback. This could be contingent on Bridgewater’s health.
  • Despite these circumstances centering around one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Bill Belichick still opted for a time-honored cliche. Asked if he’s spoken to Tom Brady, the 19th-year Patriots coach said via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter), “I’m not going to talk about the people that aren’t hereThe guys who are here are improving, they’re working hard. Those are the guys we’re going to focus on.” Brady remains absent from OTAs, and the 19th-year quarterback is rumored to want a revised contract. With Josh McDaniels spurning the Colts and remaining in place as OC, New England’s system likely will not change much, lessening the impact of Brady missing these voluntary workouts.
  • Recent Hall of Fame inductee Brian Dawkins will step down from his role in the Eagles front office, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. The former Eagles safety will stay on as a part-time consultant.

Eagles Release LB Mychal Kendricks

The Eagles releasing linebacker Mychal Kendricks, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Kendricks has spent the last six years with the Eagles, but he has been the subject of trade rumors for years. 

[RELATED: Eagles’ Paul Worrilow Done For Season]

Kendricks is expected to draw interest on the open market, though teams will want to take a close look at his ankle after he underwent a minor operation this offseason.

Kendricks’ place on the roster was once again put into flux this year when the defending champs re-signed linebacker Nigel Bradham. Bradham’s deal is worth $40MM over five years, which made Kendricks’ $5.85MM scheduled salary unpalatable. By releasing Kendricks, the Eagles will save $4.4MM in cap space with $3.2MM in dead money.

Kendricks, 28 in September, amassed 73 tackles and two sacks in 15 games in 2017. He also added 16 tackles in the postseason as the Eagles captured their first ever Super Bowl title.

It was arguably the best season of the veteran’s career as he placed as Pro Football Focus’ No. 9 ranked linebacker in the NFL, ahead of notables like NaVorro Bowman, Vontaze Burfict, and Danny Trevathan.

Without Kendricks, the Eagles may try Corey Nelson, Kamu Grugier-Hill, and rookie Josh Sweat at strongside linebacker. It also wouldn’t be surprise to see them look at the free agent market for linebacker help, particularly after middle linebacker Paul Worrilow was diagnosed with a torn ACL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Pats, Eagles, Gregory, Redskins

Josh McDaniels said recently his role remains the same, despite Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick helping to convince him to stay and thus spurn the Colts. But the longtime Patriots offensive coordinator’s presence in what’s generally a “notoriously small” draft room was indeed an expansion of McDaniels’ responsibilities, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Although many teams may have written McDaniels off after his controversial flip-flop, he was a perennial fixture in HC carousels leading up to his 11th-hour decision to back out of a Colts deal. But the 42-year-old assistant insists he still wants to be a head coach, and taking part in draft-day proceedings would stand to further bolster those hopes.

Here’s the latest from the Easts:

  • The surgery Brandon Graham underwent will keep him out for the entirety of the Eagles‘ offseason program. Graham is hopeful he will be ready for training camp, per Les Bowen of Philly.com. The 30-year-old defensive end decided to go under the knife to accelerate the healing process from a troublesome high ankle sprain suffered on Christmas night. Graham remains in pursuit of an Eagles extension. His contract expires after the 2018 season.
  • Mychal Kendricks also underwent offseason surgery, per Bowen. The veteran linebacker and perpetual trade-block mainstay had minor ankle surgery. This duo follows Timmy Jernigan and Derek Barnett among Eagles defenders to undergo offseason procedures.
  • Arie Kouandjio will undergo surgery, but his recovery time will be far longer than the Eagles’ spate of defensive players who opted for operations. The Redskins guard suffered an injury which Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is calling a partially torn quadriceps and will soon have surgery (Twitter link). It’s unclear at this point how long Kouandjio will be out, but Rapoport notes the recovery time will likely be several months. A recent report pegged Kouandjio as a possible IR candidate, but after this update categorizes the malady as a partially torn quad, the interior blocker may be able to avoid such a distinction.
  • Randy Gregory will apply for reinstatement soon, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report notes a Cowboys front office source is optimistic the defensive end will be reinstated this year. Popped for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, the former second-round pick has only played two games since the 2015 season.

Eagles To Re-Sign LB Nigel Bradham

The Eagles will re-sign free agent linebacker Nigel Bradham to a five-year, $40MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Bradham was a key part of Philadelphia’s Super Bowl-winning defense a season ago, but given that the Eagles are extremely pressed for cap space, it wasn’t clear if they’d be able to re-sign the 28-year-old linebacker. They’ve somehow made it work, however, and one resulting move will entail the Eagles (once again) placing linebacker Mychal Kendricks and his $5.85MM 2018 salary on the trade block, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

A former fourth-round pick, Bradham followed defensive play-caller Jim Schwartz from Buffalo to Philadelphia prior to the 2016 campaign. He’s arguably posted the best two seasons of his career during that time, and graded as the league’s 21st-best linebacker in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus.While playing on nearly 90% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps, Bradham posted 61 tackles and one sack.

While the guarantees or structure of Bradham’s new deal have yet to be reported, he’ll now become the 12th-highest-paid off-ball linebacker in terms of annual salary. Given that Eagles’ salary cap problems, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Bradham’s pact contains a hefty signing bonus that will be spread across multiple years, while a back-loaded pact also isn’t out of the question.

Heading into free agency, Bradham ranked as PFR’s No. 1 available linebacker and the No. 22 free agent overall.

[RELATED: Eagles Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Hightower, Cutler

The Patriots were aware of Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks in the offseason when he was on the block and Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link) wonders if he could be a consideration for them now that Dont’a Hightower is dealing with a serious pectoral injury.

Kendricks has long been talked about as a trade candidate and he even requested a trade himself back in January. However, he has become vital to the team in the wake of Jordan Hicks‘ season-ending Achilles tear. Kendricks was on the field for 55 snaps in Week 6 and probably would have been in line for lots of burn last week if not for a hamstring injury. With a 6-1 record, the Eagles probably aren’t inclined to trade away a key defender like Kendricks before the deadline.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • If he’s ruled out for the season, Hightower will lose out on $2.6MM+ in bonuses from the Patriots due to the torn pectoral and his previous knee injuries, Howe tweets. Hightower’s deal includes extra cash based on per-game play and play-time as well as Pro Bowl and All-Pro appearances.
  • Despite his cracked ribs, Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to be available a week from Sunday vs. Oakland, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). However, he will not be able to suit up for Thursday night’s game against Baltimore.
  • The Patriots had wide receiver Jake Kumerow and fullback Marquez Williams in for free agent workouts on Wednesday, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. Kumerow was signed to the practice squad on Thursday morning.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Floyd, Lions, Eagles

Given that wide receiver Michael Floyd‘s four-game suspension will conclude this Sunday, the Vikings will need to make a roster move in order to clear space for the veteran pass-catcher, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. Clubs are typically given roster exemptions when a player returns from a ban, so Minnesota will likely have until Wednesday or Thursday to make a transaction. The most likely candidates to be removed from the Vikings’ active 53 appear to be rookie wideouts Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley, per Tomasson, as neither has played much during the 2017 campaign. Floyd, 27, inked a one-year, $1.41MM deal with Minnesota that didn’t include any guaranteed money.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Lions expect left tackle Taylor Decker to return from a shoulder injury in late October or early November, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. Originally given a four-to-six month timeline when injured in June, Decker has been progressing well in his recovery, and nearly every report on his timetable has been positive. Because he’s on the physically unable to perform list, Decker is required to miss at least six games before returning to action. Detroit has a bye in Week 7, however, so the earliest he can realistically come back is Week 9 against the Steelers, as Meinke details. Trade acquisition Greg Robinson has started in Decker’s stead, but he’s graded as the league’s second-worst tackle, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Linebacker Mychal Kendricks was finally able to play in more than half the Eagles‘ defensive snaps in Week 3 following an injury to fellow defender Jordan Hicks, and Kendricks wasn’t able to stifle his frustration at typically being only a base-package player. “I haven’t been able to play,” Kendricks said, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I could have been doing this. … You only have so much time to do this [stuff], man.” Kendricks, who posted seven tackles and two passes defensed last Sunday, has frequently been mentioned in trade rumors but hasn’t been moved.
  • In case you missed it, the NFL suspended Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan two games for his brutal hit on Packers wide receiver Davante Adams on Thursday Night Football.

Dolphins Looked At Mychal Kendricks Before Kiko Alonso Trade

When the Dolphins and Eagles discussed the seminal trade that ended up giving Miami Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell and the Eagles the No. 8 pick in the 2016 draft, Philadelphia brass gave the south Florida franchise a list of players they were willing to offer.

Mychal Kendricks appeared on the list, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins preferred Alonso to Kendricks and ended up making sure the former Bills standout only played one season with the Eagles. While the Dolphins signed Alonso to an extension, Kendricks hovered on the 2017 trade block.

Salguero reports the Dolphins studied Kendricks, who was a full-time player for the Chip Kelly-era Eagles before being relegated to a part-timer under new DC Jim Schwartz. Kendricks said in July he requested a trade out of Philly, but his 2017 salary became guaranteed earlier this year.

Dolphins executive VP Mike Tannenbaum also received reassurance on Maxwell, who did not show much with the Eagles, from Dan Quinn — Maxwell’s DC for part of his years in Seattle. The rangy corner became the player the Dolphins prioritized in this deal — one that helped the Eagles move from No. 13 to No. 8, putting them in better position to make the Carson Wentz trade with the Browns — but the team wanted more, per Salguero, prompting Miami to scan Philadelphia’s linebacker depth chart.

The Dolphins preferred Alonso to Kendricks because of his appeal as a three-down linebacker, Salguero notes. Kendricks is signed through the 2019 season but sits behind Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham in Philly’s linebacker hierarchy; Hicks and Bradham function as the Eagles’ nickel ‘backers.

Kendricks is attached to cap numbers of $6.6MM (2017), $7.6MM (’18) and $8.6MM (’19). Alonso’s extension ended up being for nearly the exact same amount as the Eagles signed Kendricks to more than 18 months earlier. The Miami outside ‘backer signed a four-year, $28.9MM re-up more than a year after Kendricks signed for four years and $29MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Mychal Kendricks Requested Trade

The Eagles have been reportedly been shopping linebacker Mychal Kendricks for several years, and Kendricks himself asked to be traded or released in January, as Kendricks told reporters, including Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).Mychal Kendricks (vertical)

Kendricks isn’t expected to see a larger role on defense in 2017, and therefore hasn’t dismissed the possibility that he could still dealt, per Zach Berman on the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). However, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said March that he expected Kendricks to remain on Philadelphia’s roster for the upcoming campaign. When asked if he would have agreed to an extension had he known his playing time would subsequently be reduced, Kendricks indicated he’d “plead the fifth,” per Berman.

Philadelphia had placed Kendricks on the trade block as far back as the 2015 draft, but the club was reportedly actively shopping him this offseason. The Eagles were looking for a fifth-round pick in exchange for Kendricks, but no team was willing to meet that ask after $4.35MM of Kendricks’ $4.85MM 2017 base salary became fully guaranteed earlier this year. Kendricks, 26, is signed through the 2019 campaign thanks to an extension inked in August 2015.

A full-time starter during his first four seasons with the Eagles, Kendricks was largely relegated to a reserve role in 2016, as he played on only a quarter of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps. In that span, he racked up 28 tackles and fumble recovery, and earned positive marks for his run defense and pass rushing ability from Pro Football Focus. Kendricks’ coverage grade of 47.7, however, was lacking.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Rams, Cowboys, Eagles, Vikes

The Rams had been holding off on extension talks with franchise-tagged cornerback Trumaine Johnson because they wanted to see how he fit in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme during their offseason program. Well, Johnson and Phillips are apparently a match, as head coach Sean McVay said Thursday (via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com) that he “fits any system. You’re talking about a big corner who can run, he’s physical, he can tackle and he has great ball skills.” The Rams have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal with Johnson, who’s currently scheduled to rake in $16.742MM this year. The same deadline doesn’t apply to superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald, as he’s still under control for two more years. The sides have discussed an extension, though, and McVay is “optimistic that something’s going to work out.”

More from the NFC:

  • One reason the Cowboys are uninterested in free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis is because they view him as a “progress-stopper,” according to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. The Cowboys used three picks this year on corners, including Chidobe Awuzie in Round 2 and Jourdan Lewis in Round 3, and seem content to lean on a group that includes those youngsters, second-year man Anthony Brown (whom they’re bullish on, per Williams) and the established twosome of Orlando Scandrick and Nolan Carroll.
  • After playing just 27 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in 2016, linebacker Mychal Kendricks has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason. For now, Kendricks is still in Philadelphia, and if he remains an Eagle this year, his role is unlikely to change, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com. The Eagles used their nickel package over 70 percent of the time last season, and they’ll probably rely on it heavily again; if so, Kendricks will continue to watch from the sideline as fellow linebackers Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham receive the majority of snaps. The 26-year-old Kendricks still has three years left on his contract, but releasing him would cost the Eagles $9.15MM in dead cap this summer. Barring a trade, then, he figures to spend the sixth year of his career with his only NFL employer to date.
  • Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is finally poised to put his nagging right eye issues behind him. “We’re just about out of the woods,” said Zimmer, who has undergone eight separate surgeries over the past year to repair a detached retina. A checkup on Wednesday revealed that “the retina is perfect, the pressure [in my eye] is great,” Zimmer informed reporters, including Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. The 61-year-old’s doctor told him he’d be “absolutely shocked if anything else happened in this eye.” Zimmer’s eye problems led to his absence from the Vikings’ Week 13 loss to Dallas last season and forced him to miss the first two weeks of organized team activities this spring.