After six seasons in Philadelphia, Mychal Kendricks is looking for a new home.
The Eagles announced Tuesday they have released Kendricks.
The timing of the transaction is a head-scratcher, with middle linebacker Jordan Hicks recovering from Achilles surgery and free-agent acquisition Paul Worrilow suffering a torn ACL in Tuesday’s practice.
The Eagles will recoup $4.4 million in salary-cap space unless Kendricks is designated a post-June 1 release, in which case the move would free up $6 million against the 2019 cap.
Selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, Kendricks entered the league with a reputation as an athletic, rangy linebacker ideally suited to the modern, pass-heavy NFL. After a promising rookie season, he was viewed as one of the most impressive young linebackers in football.
Over the past half-decade, though, multiple Eagles coaching staffs have arrived at the conclusion that he’s best utilized as a two-down player, the ostensible source of frustration that has landed Kendricks on the trade block since 2015.
Kendricks, 27, is coming off one of his finest seasons in Philadelphia, starting 13 games for the Super Bowlchampions. When impending free agent Nigel Bradham landed a five-year, $40 million contract in March, though, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport predicted the Eagles would renew their efforts to shop Kendricks around the league.
Now that he’s free, Kendricks figures to generate plenty of interest on the open market, perhaps even from the cross-state Steelers, who are still in search of a replacement for Ryan Shazier. The Falcons were a potential trade partner in the offseason of 2017, per Rapoport, but they’ve since assembled a speedy, three-man linebacker corps of their own.
The top candidate to replace Kendricks in Jim Schwartz’s defense is CoreyNelson. The former Broncos special teamer was promised a chance to compete for a starting job when he signed in March.
That’s a leap of faith for an NFC super power that will list linebacker as its biggest question mark entering training camp.