Philadelphia Eagles: Kendricks to the Browns seems like a lateral move

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

After demanding his release from the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2017 season due to a perceived lack of playing time, signing with the Browns seems odd.

The last week has been pretty strange for ex-Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

After petitioning for his release prior to the 2017 NFL season due to a perceived lack of playing time, Kendricks, a key part of the team’s Super Bowl-winning defense, finally had his wish granted one year later by Eagles GM Howie Roseman, mere hours before his probable replacement, Paul Worrilow, suffered a season-ending ACL-injury.

Finally free to sign with a new team, and become a full-time starting will linebacker once more, Kendricks ventured out onto the open market, only to find that it was surprisingly light for the 27-year-old Cal alum post-draft.

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While many blogs, like Section 215 presumed that a plethora of teams would be interested in procuring his services moving forward, especially a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, such a demand did not materialize for the sixth year vet, and he ultimately had to settle for a one-year, $3 million deal to join the Cleveland Browns fairly crowded linebacking core.

A strange fit to say the least.

Now granted, current Brown’s defensive coordinator Gregg Williams does run a scheme that fits Kendricks’ skillset more than Jim Schwartz‘s, as Schwartz almost never blitzed the sixth-year vet up the middle, but much like Philly, Cleveland already has a pretty loaded linebacking core.

Currently headlined by 2017 first-time Pro Bowler Joe Schobert in the middle, and $37 million ex-Patriot Jamie Collins on the strongside, Kendricks is now the fourth linebacker on the team with starting experience, and will likely have to fight fifth-year linebacker Christian Kirksey for playing time on the weakside.

Is that really a better situation than what he had in Philly?

Sure, the Browns have made major strides after adding John Dorsey to their front office over the offseason, with major additions like Jarvis Landrey, Tyrod Taylor, and Carlos Hyde in free agency, and Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, and Nick Chubb in the 2018 NFL Draft, but they will have to fight tooth and nail just to get out of the very competitive AFC North this year, whereas the Eagles appear to be built for championship contention for the long haul.

Furthermore, at only $3 million a year, plus the potential for more with incentives, it’s not like Kendricks is locked into a long-term deal that guarantees him anything more than a chance to compete for playing time in a fairly stacked linebacking core, the very same situation he found himself in as a member of the world champion Eagles.

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Though this could all be for not and he could become a full-time starter in line for a new, long-term deal with either the Dawg Pound or elsewhere else based on his stellar performance, this move to Cleveland feels much more lateral than I’m sure Mychal Kendricks would have hoped when he finally received his post-June first release from the Philadelphia Eagles.