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Should the Giants be interested in released linebacker Mychal Kendricks?

Cap space might be an impediment to getting a deal done

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles have been trying to figure out what to do with Mychal Kendricks throughout the offseason. There were rumors of a trade throughout free agency and leading up to the draft, but the linebacker remained on the roster as the Eagles opened OTAs this week. But shortly after Tuesday’s practice, Adam Schefter reported the Eagles had released the 27-year-old linebacker.

Kendricks had been a six-year starter for the Eagles and had a bounce back year in 2017 following a disappointing 2016 season. Despite that bounce back, Kendricks was set to have a $7.6 million cap hit this season, per Over The Cap, which was the 16th-highest mark among non-EDGE linebackers this season. Philadelphia saved $6 million by releasing him and designating him as a post-June 1 cut.

That unexpectedly leaves a productive under-30 linebacker available in late May. So, should the New York Giants be interested in Kendricks’s services? The short answer should be yes.

Kendricks played just under 60 percent of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps last season and played a bigger part in the second half with 70 percent of snaps played in all games from Week 8 to Week 16.

He’s a solid run defender and good enough in coverage to not be a liability — something not many Giants linebackers have been able to say in the past — and he had six passes defenses in 2017. His strength doesn’t come from pass rushing ability, but he added two sacks and five quarterback hits as a blitzer last season, per NFL GSIS. Kendricks profiles as a type of player defensive coordinator James Bettcher would love. His combine numbers are six years old at this point, but he was in the 98th percentile for the 40-yard dash, 96th in the vertical, 98th in the broad jump, and 95th in the three-cone.

The current depth chart for the Giants at inside linebacker includes Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, and not much else behind them. Kendricks would probably be the Giants’ best linebacker if he was to be added to the roster, which would also help the depth.

Putting Kendricks in the middle with Ogletree could allow the former Ram to rush the passer a little more, which could benefit both players and the coordinator who used Haason Reddick as a blitzing inside linebacker with the Cardinals last season.

Kendricks is coming off an ankle injury, but it appears to be minor. He had surgery two months ago and is expected to return to action soon.

The real question could be whether or not the Giants can afford Kendricks. Kendricks won’t get a deal close to what he was making in Philadelphia and big time deals rarely happen for released players in May, but there likely won’t be a shortage of teams interested in the linebacker, which could raise the price of a typical cap casualty.

Per Over The Cap, the Giants have an estimated $8.3 million in cap space, which is the 10th-least in the league. Only three of the Giants six draft picks have been signed at this point. There’s obviously a way a deal could be worked out, but the Giants could see themselves handicapped by some deals that are already on the books.

Still, the Giants should definitely be interested in Mychal Kendricks, who would serve as an upgrade in the linebacker corps.