It did not take long for Mychal Kendricks trade speculation to begin (see the bottom of this post) after the Eagles announced a contract extension for DeMeco Ryans on Monday afternoon. It's easy to see why: Philadelphia has a logjam at linebacker.
Ryans is now under contract through the 2016 season. He's coming off an Achilles injury so it's unclear if the Eagles expect to use him in a full time role. Meanwhile, the team acquired young stud Kiko Alonso in the LeSean McCoy trade. The Eagles are clearly high on the former Oregon Duck.
When it comes to depth players, Philadelphia signed Brad Jones prior to free agency began in early March. Jones has starting experience but figures to fit in as a backup. The Eagles are also set to return Najee Goode, who missed most of last season due to a pectoral injury, and Emmanuel Acho from the 2014 roster. Outside linebackers Travis Long, who missed 2014 with a torn ACL, and first round pick Marcus Smith II have spent some time learning the inside position as well.
So where does Kendricks fit in? Maybe the Eagles plan to keep him and heavily rotate their inside linebackers. Or maybe part of the reason why the team hasn't even approached him about a new contract yet is because he's not in the long-term plans. Keep in mind Kendricks is scheduled to enter the 2015 season on the last year of his rookie deal.
Kendricks has played well in Philadelphia so getting rid of him admittedly wouldn't make a lot of sense unless the Eagles got a good return in a trade. It seems silly to suggest the team is concerned with his medical history considering the recent injuries suffered by Ryans and Alonso but perhaps that's the case. Kelly spoke about Kendricks during the NFL owner's meeting last week.
"I thought when [Kendricks] was healthy he played really well for us. But we missed him for four games. The health aspect was a difficult thing. And we were a different team when he wasn’t out there. But when he played, he played really well for us."
This situation is obviously something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Mychal Kendricks trade speculation
Methinks the fan base values Mychal Kendricks more than the Eagles' front office.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) March 30, 2015
Nope. RT @PhillyFreck215 you think Kendricks stays?— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) March 30, 2015
Eagles extended ILB DeMeco Ryans one year through 2016. Chip loves DeMeco. He's not going anywhere. What about Kendricks? Very interesting.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) March 30, 2015
What does Ryans' new deal mean? He'll be on the roster in '15; Eagles open up cap space; Ryans/Alonso have more security than Kendricks— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) March 30, 2015
Ryans played 91.2% of snaps through first 7 games last season. Kendricks played every snap last 5 games. Add in Alonso to that mix. #Eagles— Martin Frank (@Mfranknfl) March 30, 2015
DeMeco Ryans and Kiko Alonso signed through 2016 and Mychal Kendricks is entering last year of deal and #Eagles have yet to talk extension.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 30, 2015
Can't say I like what the DeMeco extension suggests for Kendricks' future in Philly... but guess we'll see.— Andrew Kulp (@KulpSays) March 30, 2015