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December 27, 2016

Eagles stay or go: Outside Linebackers

Eagles NFL
122416MychalKendricks Duane Burleson/AP

Mychal Kendricks' contract is not ideal, but he'll likely be back in 2017.

The 2016 Philadelphia Eagles season is essentially over, so with one game remaining, we'll continue to look ahead to the offseason. As a starting point, let's take a look at each position and figure out which players will be back in 2017. Today we'll look at the outside linebackers.

In case you missed our previous positional previews:

Quarterbacks | Running backs | Wide receivers | Tight ends
Offensive tackles | Guards | Centers | Defensive ends | Defensive tackles

Nigel Bradham

Prior to joining the Eagles, Bradham had his best season in the pros playing for Jim Schwartz in Buffalo. On the field this season for the Eagles, Bradham has put up similar numbers to his best season with the Bills:

Nigel Bradham Tackles Sacks FF INT 
 2014 Bills104 2.5 
 2016 Eagles101 

On the field, I think the Eagles got what they were hoping for when they signed Bradham as a free agent. Off the field, Bradham needs to stop being a "dumbass."

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Mychal Kendricks

Kendricks is the third linebacker in the Eagles' pecking order, behind Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, who have both played far more snaps so far this season.

Eagles LBs Snaps Percantage of snaps 
 Nigel Bradham845  96.6%
 Jordan Hicks832  95.1%
 Mychal Kendricks259  29.4%

Kendricks is not worth the $6,600,000 he'll count against the cap in 2017, however, the Eagles would only save $1,800,000 of that if they cut or traded him. While Kendricks has been brutally bad at times, he has flashed his athletic ability at other times. Unfortunately for Kendricks, Jim Schwartz has been unable to find creative ways to use Kendricks to the best of his abilities. For example, in my view, Kendricks' best trait as a linebacker is his blitzing ability, and he has rushed the passer a grand total of nine times this season, according to ProFootballFocus.

The $1,800,000 savings the Eagles would receive would not be worth cutting him, but if some team out there were intrigued by Kendricks' potential, a mid- to late-round pick might convince the Eagles to trade him.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Kamu Grugier-Hill

The Eagles have two outside linebackers who are special teams contributors only. They would be Grugier-Hill and Najee Goode. The Eagles were fortunate to have healthy linebackers this season, or their lack of depth there may have been exposed. This offseason, they are likely to try to add depth there. That means that Grugier-Hill and Goode have tenuous holds on their roster spots, although at least Grugier-Hill has age on his side, as he is 22, while Goode is 27.

#JimmyVerdict: No need to release before training camp, but ideally the Eagles will have found an upgrade.

Your verdict: 

Najee Goode

Goode is a free agent this offseason. If he is willing to sign a one-year minimum veteran non-guaranteed contract, I'm sure the Eagles would love to have him in training camp. Otherwise, Goode will probably go.

#JimmyVerdict: Go.

Your verdict:

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

Green = Stay

Orange = No need to release before training camp, but ideally the Eagles will have found an upgrade

Red = Go

 QBCarson Wentz Chase Daniel    
 RBRyan Mathews Darren Sproles Wendell Smallwood Kenjon Barner  
 WRJordan Matthews Nelson Agholor Dorial Green-Beckham Bryce Treggs Paul Turner 
 TEZach Ertz Brent Celek Trey Burton   
 LTJason Peters Matt Tobin Dillon Gordon   
 LGAllen Barbre Stefen Wisniewski    
 CJason Kelce Josh Andrews    
 RGBrandon Brooks Isaac Seumalo    
 RTLane Johnson Halapoulivaati Vaitai    
 DEBrandon Graham Connor Barwin  Vinny CurryMarcus Smith Steven Means 
 DTFletcher Cox Bennie Logan Beau Allen Destiny Vaeao Taylor Hart 
 OLBNigel Bradham Mychal Kendricks Kamu Grugier-Hill Najee Goode  
 Head coach     
 Defensive coordinator     

And yes, for the record, I realize there's probably more green than you'd expect from a 6-9 team.

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