The Eagles made more headlines on Sunday, as Jimmy Kempski reported the team was "likely to trade" veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
After being a starter for the Birds during the first four years of his career, Kendricks saw a sharp decline in his playing time as he struggled to adjust in Jim Schwartz's system. Moving on from Kendricks seems like a smart move, but the Eagles don't exactly have a guy on their team who could slide in and produce at a high level.
In addition to Kendricks, Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill are signed to long-term contracts. So is Joe Walker, who is coming off a year on injured reserve. Najee Goode and Stephen Tulloch are unrestricted free agents, and Don Cherry was signed to a future contract after spending most of 2016 on the practice squad.
Hicks proved to be a budding star in 2016 and, barring injury, he should be quarterbacking the defense for the better part of the next decade. Bradham's future is a bit murkier due to his ongoing legal troubles, but he was highly productive in 2016 and has proven to be a good player in Schwartz's scheme.
The Birds signed Grugier-Hill off the waiver wire last year and he's a solid special teamer on a very cheap deal, so he'll be back. Walker is the only true middle linebacker besides Hicks on the roster, so there's a good chance he can make the team, if he stays healthy.
Tulloch is the obvious answer. He signed a one-year deal in 2016 as a backup and didn't exactly perform at a high level. Not even his connection with Schwartz will get him a new contract.
Due to the rumors, Kendricks will get placed here, although moving him would be a mistake. If the Eagles were to trade the former second-round pick, they would receive very little cap relief and have just two starting-caliber linebackers on the roster. Also, Kendricks really played well at the end of the year, after recovering from a series of nagging injuries he suffered during training camp.
Andy Reid never prioritized linebackers during his tenure in Philadelphia, so maybe Doug Pederson feels like he can win without Kendricks, but moving on from him makes little sense.
With all of the holes on the Eagles roster, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Eagles fail to address their issue of linebacker depth for a second straight season. After addressing their secondary, receiving corps, running backs and defensive line, there may not be enough resources to fully restock the linebacking corps.
Adding a LB with a late-round pick should be expected, however, and one guy to keep an eye on is Wake Forest's Marquel Lee. Lee saw action in all four years of college, tallying 14.5 sacks in his career and 41 tackles for loss. At 6-3, 240, he could develop into a solid, run-stuffing linebacker.
As for free agency, things will depend on what happens with Kendricks. If he remains, the Eagles could wait until the summer to bring in a veteran linebacker on a one-year deal to compete as a backup. If he's gone, a starter could be brought in. However, with Kendricks less than a quarter of the Eagles' defensive snaps last season, a replacement wouldn't need to be a high-profile signing.