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August 04, 2017

Eagles notes: Can the Eagles trade Mychal Kendricks, given their questionable linebacker depth?

All offseason long, Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks has been on the trade block. Kendricks wants out, and the Eagles are willing to part with him if a decent enough offer comes along. However, with a lack of depth at linebacker, as well as the potential for starting linebacker Nigel Bradham to face discipline from the NFL for two separate arrests last season, observers have wondered if the Eagles would be better served just holding onto Kendricks.

In my view, if you can trade Kendricks for a serviceable corner or a late-round draft pick (say, like, a 6?), I would not hesitate to make that move.

Kendricks is at his best when he is attacking. He is a serious liability, however, when he is asked to play in coverage against opposing running backs and tight ends.

Unfortunately for Kendricks, in Jim Schwartz's scheme, linebackers are primarily asked to do the latter. In another scheme that might utilize his blitzing ability and raw athleticism, Kendricks can be a guy who makes plays. In the Eagles scheme, he is simply a bad player for what they ask him to do, and in my view, not much better (if at all) than some of the other linebackers behind him on the Eagles' depth chart.

So go ahead and get what you can for him.

Brent Celek acknowledged that this could be his last year in the league. Via Reuben Frank of CSN Phillly:

“I’m trying to have the attitude like, 'This could be it for me,'" Celek said after practice Wednesday. "I think when you have that attitude you think differently and you take advantage of things a little bit more. You pay attention to the details a little bit more. I’m just trying to have a different attitude about it."

Whenever Celek is done playing in Philly, he'll be remembered as a great Eagle who played through a whole slew of injuries. But in terms of the business side of the sport, Celek took a million dollar pay cut this offseason, reducing his salary from $4 million in 2017 to $3 million. A season ago, Celek signed a contract extension that essentially served as a pay cut as well.

Celek is easily still the best blocking tight end on the roster, although at the age of 32 he isn't quite what he once was in that regard. In recent years, Celek's receiving numbers have fallen off dramatically. In 2016, Celek averaged less than one catch per game and he did not score a touchdown for the first time in his career.

He is scheduled to count for $5 million against the cap in 2018. While he has had a long, productive career in Philadelphia, there's no way he will stick on the roster at that time at that number. If you're a Celek fan, enjoy him now, because this could be his last year in Philly, unless he takes another substantial pay cut once again next offseason.

The Eagles tweeted out that Nelson Agholor was the fastest player at Eagles camp so far, clocking in at 21.9 MPH.

During the Senior Bowl, we had noted at one point that Eastern Washington wide receiver (and draft crush of many Eagles fans) Cooper Kupp looked slow in practice. And then sure enough, the Senior Bowl tweeted out that Kupp had the fastest time in MPH during the week of practices.

That prompted the Kupp fans to shove it back in my face that I was wrong about his speed. Ugh. That top speed tracker has more to do with the opportunity to get into a full-on straight-line sprint during practice than, you know, actual useful data.

The players with the opportunity to get into full straight-line sprints during football practices are the kick returners. At the Senior Bowl, Kupp got kick return reps, just like Agholor gets reps at kick returner at Eagles practices.

Ultimately, Kupp ran a 4.62 at the Combine. That would put him in the 14th percentile among wide receivers competing at the Combine since 1999.

That's not to say Agholor isn't fast. He is. And I'll also note that Agholor looks faster this offseason than I've ever seen him.

Still, I hate that MPH tracker and I wish it would go away. Also, turn down that music and get off my lawn.

In our practice notes yesterday, we pointed out that Dillon Gordon has been getting most of the reps at fullback. Frank Reich acknowledged that Gordon has been the focus there.

"I mean, obviously with his background, we know he can catch the ball," said Reich. "He sees things pretty good from back there. I think we want to continue to give a handful of guys reps back there. Dillon has been the focus. We'll probably continue to rep some other guys back there. We want that to be part of our offense.

"So Dillon has done a nice job. We know he can catch the ball. He actually has a pretty good feel finding holes back there. He's done well, but we'll continue to evaluate several people at that position."

There may be times when Donnel Pumphrey (5'9, 176) and Darren Sproles (5'6, 190) both line up in the Eagles backfield, and other times when LeGarrette Blount (6'0, 250) and Dillon Gordon (6'4, 322) are both back there.

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