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May 06, 2017

So now what for Mychal Kendricks?

Way back in February, PhillyVoice reported that the Philadelphia Eagles were likely to trade Mychal Kendricks this offseason, and they've certainly tried. Nearly three months later, Kendricks remains with the team.

It appears that the Eagles had a bite when the San Francisco 49ers showed interest, but a deal could not be worked out, according to Kevin Jones of KNBR radio in the San Francisco Bay area.

NFL Insider Adam Caplan later chimed in that the deal almost got done at the NFL Combine in early March.

The Niners drafted Reuben Foster with the 31st-overall pick, and although he may miss the 2017 season, the Niners are about as far from Super Bowl contenders as you'll find, so investing a draft pick (or some other asset of value) in Kendricks at this point is probably off the table.

After the completion of the draft, Howie Roseman was asked if Jason Kelce and Mychal Kendricks would be on the team in 2017.

"Yes, they are here, and we fully anticipate that they're going to be here going forward," he said.

Teams around the league are not going to trade for Kendricks (or at least give up anything of substance) if they believe that the Eagles will eventually release him, so Roseman's comments are necessary, whether it's posturing or not. But to be clear, the Eagles will continue to seek offers for Kendricks.

While Kendricks has been bad at times, he has flashed his athletic ability at other times. Unfortunately for Kendricks, Jim Schwartz was unable to find creative ways to use him to the best of his abilities. For example, in the view of many talent evaluators, Kendricks' best trait as a linebacker is his blitzing ability. In 2016, Kendricks rushed the passer a grand total of just nine times, according to ProFootballFocus. He also played on less than 27 percent of the team's defensive snaps in 2016.

The Eagles would save $1.8 million if they traded or released him. At the present time, the Eagles have the smallest amount of money under the cap, according to

On the bright side for the Eagles, linebacker is a position that wasn't particularly strong in the 2017 NFL Draft, and there will still be teams that could be looking to fill their needs. In the 2017 draft, only 28 linebackers were selected. Here's how that compares with recent drafts:

Year No. of linebackers drafted 

To note, the numbers above do not differentiate between linebackers in a 3-4 who play ILB and OLB, two very distinctly different positions. However, the 2017 draft was very strong at edge rusher (which would include 3-4 OLB), meaning that the number of true linebackers (as opposed to edge rushers) were down even more than normal this year.

To get a better idea of which teams could still be in the market for linebacker help, we went to's draft tracker, and found every team that had linebacker listed among their biggest needs. That list included 26 teams. We then looked to see if each team drafted a linebacker on Day 1 or Day 2 of the 2017 draft. Only eight did:

Team Did they draft a LB on Day 1 or Day 2?
Cardinals Yes, Haason Reddick, 13th overall
Falcons Yes, Duke Riley, 75th overall
Ravens Yes, Tyus Bowser, 47th overall
Bills No
Bears No
Bengals No
Browns No
Broncos No
Lions Yes, Jarrad Davis, 21st overall
Packers No
Texans Yes, Zach Cunningham, 57th overall
Colts No
Chiefs No
Rams No
Dolphins Yes, Raekwon McMillan, 54th overall
Vikings No
Patriots No
Saints Yes, Alex Anzalone, 76th overall
Giants No
Jets No
Raiders No
Steelers No
49ers Yes, Reuben Foster, 31st overall
Seahawks No
Titans No
Redskins No

In other words, there's still plenty of demand for linebackers in the NFL. Back in March, Jeff McLane of the Inquirer reported that the Eagles wanted at least a fifth-round pick for Kendricks. That's not a totally unreasonable asking price for a player that does have a skill set that can be effective in some defensive schemes.

However, at this point, for a team to pull the trigger on a deal for him, they'll have to find Kendricks' skill set as an attractive fit in their defense, while buying the notion that the Eagles will keep him on their roster if they can't trade him. Even with a bereft of linebacker depth league-wide, the Eagles' asking price may have to come down a shade.

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