The Philadelphia Eagles stunned the NFL world Tuesday when it was reported they were going to release veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Coming off a Super Bowl win, the Eagles parting ways with Kendricks was certainly a surprise.
Eagles releasing veteran LB Mychal Kendricks, per source. Kendricks spent six years with Eagles; he’s not expected to be unemployed long.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 22, 2018
After the news, Pittsburgh Steelers fans started wondering if their favorite team would be players in the Kendricks sweepstakes, after all, the team failed to adequately replace Ryan Shazier at the linebacker position in free agency or the 2018 NFL Draft.
Anyone on social media who suggested the Steelers be placing a call for Kendricks were quickly shot down by others suggesting the team doesn’t have the salary cap space, or in some cases, the need to bring in Kendricks.
While some of these facts may have their validity, the same was said before the team signed Joe Haden, who was in a very similar situation. Haden wasn’t a free agent at the beginning of the league year, but when the Browns announced they would release the veteran cornerback, few thought the Steelers stood a chance at bringing him in.
As for the salary cap space, if you look at Haden’s deal he signed when coming to the Steelers, he played in Pittsburgh at a very reasonable price in Year 1, and his price tag increased significantly in the years after. A similar deal could be done for Kendricks, but the talented linebacker would have to come to Pittsburgh in hopes of winning another championship, not to break the bank with a lucrative deal.
While there are a lot of similarities between Haden and Kendricks’ situations, there are also stark differences. Kendricks is coming off a Super Bowl win, while Haden had never played in a playoff game. Kendricks has a lot of years left in the league, while Haden is certainly on the back half of his NFL career.
For these reasons, and many more, the odds of the Steelers being able to bring in Kendricks as a free agent are slim-to-none. It is fun to discuss, and nothing is impossible, but if I’m a betting man I am betting hard on Kendricks getting a big deal from a team with a lot more salary cap space than the Pittsburgh Steelers.