Eagles Wake-Up Call: Is Kendricks In the Plans?


NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

Today’s question comes from reader Steve:

With Ryans being extended, do you see something happening in a trade to move up with Kendricks or do you think they stay at 20? 

Mychal Kendricks appeared on the NFL Network Thursday night alongside his brother, Eric, and was asked how the addition of Kiko Alonso impacts the Eagles’ linebacker room.

“I can tell you how it affects the linebacker room: it puts better players in one room,” he said. “We’re stacked now. What does it mean for me? I’m not too sure. But I know that I will just do what got me here. That’s all I can do is just do everything that is asked of me and play my butt off. The better players, the more players in the room, the better. Seriously.”

Chip Kelly said that adding depth at inside linebacker was a priority this offseason. Asked how the pieces will fit, he pointed to the fact that Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans and Alonso all missed significant time last year. From that perspective, if their biggest problem becomes how to get enough snaps for three healthy, high-end middle linebackers, they’ll be in pretty good shape.

“We are trying to accumulate as many good football players as we can is what we are trying to do,” Kelly said.

Still, the current arrangement is a bit odd. Alonso and Kendricks are well equipped to be three-down linebackers. They’re both young and both have Pro Bowl ceilings. Ryans, meanwhile, is the defense’s conductor and the team’s leader. The Eagles recently gave him a one-year extension  that lowered his cap number and ensured that he would be a part of the club for the short term. While it’s good to have backup options, how is this going to work if and when they’re all healthy? Who’s the odd man out? And is it wise to have such excess at one position when others are in serious need of a talent infusion?

To that end, it feels like Kelly’s project is incomplete. Some around the league are speculating that he has another big move up his sleeve. And the fact that there have been no extension talks between the Eagles and Kendricks as of yet only fuels the idea that the former second-round pick could be on the move. But to this point, no concrete evidence has surfaced to support the theories.

Would Kelly really part with a 24-year old difference-maker on the doorstep of his prime? The head coach himself said that every player on the team was “talked about on the trade block,” and made the point that if they were willing to trade LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles, they’re obviously open to dealing good players if the price is right.

As for Kendricks’ reaction when all of the moves went down a couple weeks back?

“My initial reaction was, ‘Oh…no. Not Shady. Not Trent. Not my boys.’ But you know what? We have a job to do. My job as a football player is to do exactly what I came here to do, and that’s to play football to the best of my ability.The coaches and the staff upstairs have a job as well, and they have the best interests of the team, and you best believe that they are doing everything that they truly believe is best for that team. That being said, I support the decisions that are being made.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Kelly went to check out USC receiver Nelson Agholor Thursday. Sheil explains why he could be a fit.

The Eagles are doing their homework on QB prospect Cody Fajardo.

Keep up with all the team’s pre-draft visits here.

“How come Howie [Roseman] isn’t getting flak for some of these contracts?” Kapadia tackles that question.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING  

Zach Berman caught up with Jordan Matthews, who talked about the possibility of playing outside more this season.

“I think you would think that I might get a whole lot more outside reps now just because Maclin is gone, but I already had talked to coaches, and they were already going to implement me more on the outside as opposed to just the inside regardless,” Matthews said. “I don’t think that’s a crazy, huge deal.”

Kelly said last week that he can envision Matthews playing “a lot of different spots.” Kelly kept Matthews in the slot because they wanted him to learn only one position as a rookie. Now that Matthews is more comfortable entering his second season, that role can expand.

Matthews said he ran the whole route tree as an inside receiver, and that playing the slot helped him with his physicality and navigating in traffic. He believes that will help him when playing on the outside.

Ron Jaworski and Adam Caplan on a defensive back prospect to keep in mind.

COMING UP

A current Eagle and former Duck takes a stab at explaining Kelly’s offseason moves.