Speaking after Eagles training camp practice on Friday, Mychal Kendricks admitted to reporters he asked for Philadelphia to trade or release him this offseason.
Mychal Kendricks said he asked for a trade this offseason. There was no trade, obviously. He doesn't think the door is closed on one.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) July 28, 2017
Kendricks said he's not unhappy. But he knows what his role is here. Still thinks he's in the prime of his career.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) July 28, 2017
This news doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.
Kendricks’ name has come up in trade rumors many times before. This offseason was no exception.
Kendricks simply isn’t a good value for the Eagles. Despite having the ninth highest cap hit on the team, he only played 26.8% of the team’s defensive snaps last year. And he didn’t particularly perform well when he did play.
But apparently the Eagles haven’t given up on him completely. He’s still around, after all.
Kendricks shared the team’s response to his request (via Tim McManus):
"You're young, you're talented and we're not into that."
It’s not untrue that Kendricks has some talent. The former second-round pick has proven to be a great blitzer. The problem for him is that the Eagles’ defensive scheme under Jim Schwartz features front-four pressure as opposed to sending extra pass rushers. It’s understandable, then, why Kendricks wants out.
Cutting Kendricks wouldn’t be ideal for the Eagles. Doing so would mean $4.8 million in dead money compared to just $1.8 million in cap space saved. Besides, Philadelphia kept him past a date where part of his salary became guaranteed. So if they were going to cut him, they would have done it by now.
Trading Kendricks, however, would make more sense. The Eagles would still only save $1.8 million in cap space, but they’d also be getting some kind of draft pick or player back in return.
It sounds like Kendricks thinks a trade is still possible. Maybe that’s the case.
The problem is that the Eagles don’t appear to have a ton of linebacker depth on paper. The fact that Nigel Bradham might be potentially facing a suspension doesn’t help either. That would explain why the team hasn’t moved on from him yet. But with players like Joe Walker, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, and even Don Cherry having nice moments in training camp, the Eagles could decide they have enough depth to move on from Kendricks.
Whether Kendricks stays on the team for the season is still up on the air. It seems like he’ll almost definitely be gone after this year, however, when the Eagles can cut or trade him for a savings of $4.4 million in 2018.