The Browns have been very active all offseason upgrading a roster that went 1-31 in two seasons under Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson.
While Jackson remains as head coach, general manager John Dorsey hasn’t been shy from adding established talent to the roster much like the defensive piece he’s signing soon.
The Browns will be signing free agent linebacker Mychal Kendricks to a one year contract just in time for the team’s final OTA workout this week and prior to the team’s mandatory minicamp next week. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network was the first to report the signing.
Kendricks was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on May 22 after six seasons with the defending Super Bowl champions in which he was their second round pick in 2012.
In those six seasons, Kendricks played in 85 games (74 starts) where he was used as both an inside and outside linebacker. He has 454 total tackles, 14 sacks, three interceptions, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
His most productive season came in 2013 where he had 113 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
Despite asking for a trade prior to last season, he stuck around Philadelphia and was a key part on defense in making their run to the team’s first championship since 1960. Kendricks had 73 tackles and two sacks in 15 regular season games and added 16 total tackles during the postseason.
Pro Football Focus graded him as the 9th best linebacker in football with an 86.0 grade which on their scale is “high quality”.
With the signing, the Browns now have four linebackers who can make an impact on the field in Kendricks, Jamie Collins who is coming off an MCL injury, fifth year linebacker Christian Kirksey and 2017 Pro Bowler Joe Schobert.
It’ll be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and linebacker coach Blake Williams will use these four. Evan Silva of Rotoworld suggested on Twitter that this could lead to Collins being move into an edge rushing role with Kendricks and Kirksey on the outside linebacker spots and Schobert to remain in the middle.
Other people have suggested this could mean someone could be getting traded but I don’t think that’s the case. Dorsey is trying to add talent to this roster and adding talent doesn’t mean moving someone else off the roster.
It’s nice to have depth and that was apparent last season when Collins got hurt and James Burgess stepped in as an undrafted rookie and had flashes of production in the final seven weeks of the season.
Kendricks has spoken to Chris Tomasson, Vikings beat reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and is currently denying that he has reached an agreement with the Browns.
Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports has confirmed that Kendricks has agreed to a one year deal with a max salary of $3.5 million. Schultz also reports that Kendricks will be a starter on defense.