Are you ready for the start of the 2018 NFL league year? If you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you probably haven’t canceled any dinner plans for the rest of this week that were accidentally made by your significant other because of the team’s propensity to sit on their collective hands during the first week of free agency. To make matters worse this year, this offseason’s free agent inside linebacker group that fits the Steelers is already close to being dried up as a result of tampering period agreements. Even so, there might be one thing left for Steelers fans to root for when it comes to that position.
Wednesday morning it was reported that the Philadelphia Eagles have re-signed linebacker Nigel Bradham to a five-year, $40 million contract. With that now done, the Eagles are expected to attempt trading linebacker Mychal Kendricks, a former second-round draft pick out of California, who registered 77 total tackles last season in somewhat limited playing time. Kendricks, who has two years remaining on his current contract, is set to earn a base salary of $5.85 million in 2018 in addition to an $150,000 workout bonus. In short, $6 million total.
The Steelers were seemingly interested in Kendricks ahead of the 2012 NFL Draft as they brought him to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit that year. In short, if ultimately released by the Eagles, the Steelers might be interested in courting him and especially because of the way he has played against the run so far during his NFL career.
So, what about trading for Kendricks? We’ll, that’s a possibility as well but it depends on what the Eagles would take as compensation. A seventh-round selection certainly would be worth it for the 27-year-old and maybe even a sixth-round selection. According to my calculations, the Steelers will have roughly $6.7 million in available salary space once all of the outstanding transactions we’re currently aware of are all made official on Wednesday. In short, the Steelers should have just enough room to accommodate Kendrick’s currently scheduled 2018 earnings under the cap should they choose to trade for him.
If the Steelers have to sign Kendricks off the street, however, it’s hard to say what his average yearly value might be and how much guaranteed money he might need to sign. When you look at what a few other free agent off-the-ball linebackers are signing for the last few days, it might turn out to be cheaper to trade for Kendricks instead of signing him off the street.
I certainly don’t know how things will ultimately play out with the Kendricks, but he’s a player for Steelers fans to watch closely right now and especially if the Eagles are indeed set to part ways with him one way or another.