The Philadelphia Eagles probably tried to trade linebacker Mychal Kendricks during the offseason but thanks to the high-ish salaries he was under contract for through 2019, it was probably hard for them to find any suitors for him. On Tuesday, the Eagles finally released Kendricks and they did so with a post June 1 designation on the linebacker. As a result of that Tuesday transaction, several fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers are now clamoring for the team to immediately sign Kendricks, a former second-round draft pick in 2012.
While I would be on board with the Steelers signing Kendricks following his Tuesday release, I will be surprised if that ultimately happens. While I did entertain the notion of the Steelers possibly trading for Kendricks back in March when reports first surfaced that the Eagles were likely looking to deal him, quite a bit has changed since then in Pittsburgh.
For starters, the Steelers signed veteran inside linebacker Jon Bostic to a two-year, $4 million free agent contract not too long after it was rumored that the Eagles were possibly interested in trading away Kendricks. With Bostic now on board, he’s expected to become the starter alongside fellow linebacker Vince Williams once the 2018 regular season gets underway in September. On top of that move, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert continued to sing the praises of backup linebacker Tyler Matakevich for a good part of the offseason.
In addition to the Steelers now seemingly being very comfortable with Bostic and Matakevich on the inside linebacker depth chart, the team also drafted two safeties in Terrell Edmunds and Marcus Allen a few weekends ago and they believe both can potentially play some at inside linebacker in certain defensive sub-packages as soon as this upcoming season should the need arise. If thats not enough, veteran safety Morgan Burnett was signed during free agency and he also could potentially play a quasi-inside linebacker role in some defensive sub-packages now that he’s in Pittsburgh. In short, and barring a serious injury to either Williams or Bostic in the coming weeks, one has to think that if the Steelers do have any interest in Kendricks, it would be for well below $2 million a season.
At some point between now and the start of training camp Kendricks is sure to sign with another team and while he isn’t likely to get the base salary of nearly $6 million he was previously scheduled to receive from the Eagles in 2018, he might get near that $5.8 million amount in base salary and signing bonus combined from whichever team ultimately signs him if he inks a deal longer than just one year. If not, at least $4 million combined for 2018, one would think. The first team that came to my mind on Tuesday after it was announced the Eagles had parted ways with Kendricks was the New York Giants. In my honest opinion, he would be a perfect fit with the Giants and they need him as well.
Kendricks won’t turn 28 years of age until September and while he has missed a few games due to injuries during his first six seasons in the NFL, he’s only missed two over the course of the last two seasons. One for a hamstring injury and another for a quad injury. He has also averaged 57 total tackles per season since entering the NFL and has been responsible for 9 total turnovers. In short, he still should have at least a few more productive seasons left in him and it will be interesting to see where he ultimately lands even if it’s very unlikely to be with the Steelers.