On the first day of Eagles training camp, in the wake of the shocking and last-minute trade of Brandon Boykin, Chip Kelly was asked if Mychal Kendricks was in danger of being the next to go.
"Mychal Kendricks is not going anywhere," Kelly said. "I can tell you that right now. You can write that down in ink, not pencil. Mych's not going anywhere."
Looks like Kelly put his money where his mouth is. Or at least the Eagles money -- $29 million of it with $16.4 million guaranteed over four seasons.
"We're really excited about Mychal," Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis said of the deal that will keep Kendricks employed through 2019. "It gives peace of mind. Lifelong security. He can really focus on his craft. He'll flourish."
With the signing, the Eagles solidified their inside linebacking corps as one of the most talented in football. The Birds have Kiko Alonso back from a training camp concussion (and after missing 2014 to an ACL injury) and DeMeco Ryans. still on the road to recovery from last season's Achilles tendon tear. It is clear that linebacker -- along with nearly every other position on an NFL roster -- is vulnerable to injury. Locking up the trio gives the team a little insurance at the position, along with rookie Jordan Hicks, touted as a talented future contributor.
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So how will the playing time be divvied up?
"Mychal is a three-down player, but the contract doesn't guarantee anything," Davis said. "We have a lot of options with DeMeco, Kiko."
The Eagles run the fastest offense in football -- but their speed often leaves their defense on the field for more snaps than a typical NFL team would get. All the more reason to lock down their best defensive players and create as much depth as possible.
"I know that all three of them will get a lot of reps," Davis said. "I hope I can put them in the right situations."
Drafted out of California three seasons ago, Kendricks, 24, has been a dynamic playmaker during his 42 games with Philadelphia. For his career the linebacker has 333 tackles (15 for loss), nine sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Playing in only 12 of 16 games last season Kendricks finished second on the team with 108 tackles.