A bit of important news has somehow escaped Falcondom, but it would have major ramifications for Atlanta’s linebacking core.
It’d involve a trade for one of the better LBs in the game.
So, Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks is a potential trade target for the Atlanta Falcons, and apparently was one last year, presumably at the trade deadline. Kudos to Falcfans’ Aaron Freeman for the find here.
As Rapoport says in the video, Kendricks has been a popular name on the trade block for quite some time. He’s a very good linebacker, if a bit of an expensive one (he carries a $7.6 million hit on his current deal for 2018), who seems to have never really gelled with Eagles DC Jim Schwartz’s plans for the defense.
If added, he would man the weak side LB spot next to Deion Jones. One wonders what fair compensation would be, but if Philly were desperate to get this contract off their books, a 2018 sixth rounder and a 2019 pick would make sense. That’d be a bargain for the Falcons in the compensation department for a player of Kendricks’ caliber.
A trade for the Eagles LB would bring up questions in the interim for LB Duke Riley, who took his lumps for the 2017 season at the weak side spot (though he missed some time last November with a knee injury, which never helps a rookie trying to grow). As some have noted, the defense did look better when Kemal Ishmael was playing at the weak side, and Kendricks would, no doubt, be a major improvement over both right now in the role.
Though, Kendricks is versatile and can play the strong side as well, so maybe Riley could use another season of development, and Kendricks could slide over to take De’Vondre Campbell’s job in 2020 if the latter leaves in free agency. Riley could step up to start at WSB then, if the team felt he was ready.
This is going to be a storyline to watch in the days and weeks ahead, as a trade would hammer in one of the weaker spots on Atlanta’s defense with a very quality player. We’ll see if Atlanta gets this one done.