One of the lesser discussed topics during Chip Kelly's surprise press conference on Wednesday was the status of DeMeco Ryans. According to the head coach, the 30-year-old veteran isn't on his way out. Despite acquiring inside linebacker Kiko Alonso and already having Mychal Kendricks, Kelly indicated Ryans is here to stay.
Asked about the potential linebacker logjam, Kelly responded with the following:
"I like having really good football players, so you have no idea. The one thing is Mychal [Kendricks] missed some games last year, DeMeco missed games last year, Kiko [Alonso] has missed games. We are trying to accumulate as many good football players as we can is what we are trying to do."
With his answer, Kelly confirmed a report that emerged last week by Ian Rapoport that the Eagles are expected to keep Ryans. Rapoport did note that Ryans may have to re-do his salary, but that hasn't happened yet, and it's unclear if it will. Here's what I wrote last week:
"Ryans' 2015 cap figure is $6.9 million and the Eagles can save all of that money with no penalty by cutting him. The 30-year-old veteran is still recovering from an Achilles injury that ended his 2014 season in early November. It was the second torn Achilles tendon Ryans has suffered in his nine-year career.
Despite this, the Eagles seem intent on keeping him. Perhaps the two sides can agree to a pay cut, or maybe an extension that shuffles the money around in his deal.
As McLane noted, Chip Kelly clearly values Ryans. This is what the Eagles coach said about him in his final press conference of the 2014 season:
"But we need DeMeco. I'm a big DeMeco fan. As a group, he really sets the tone for everybody on the defense side of the ball. So it's just a matter of getting DeMeco healthy again."
It's still unclear how all three linebackers fit into the picture. Last week it was speculated that Kendricks might be the odd man out. There haven't been any rumors on that front since, but it's certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward.