The Seahawks expect Mychal Kendricks to be a key part of their defense this year.
But for how long?
The veteran outside linebacker and Super Bowl starter with Philadelphia two seasons ago has his sentencing hearing in federal court in Pennsylvania re-scheduled for Sept. 25. That is according to a report from TMZ, which sites court records it obtained.
The Seahawks will have played three games by then, with 13 still remaining in the regular season. Sept. 25 is four days before the week-four game at Arizona.
Kendricks has had his sentencing hearing rescheduled multiple times from its original date in January and another one in late April, without explanation. In the meantime, the Seahawks re-signed him in March to a one-year contract. He and the re-signed duo of Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright give the Seahawks three Super Bowl starters at linebacker, their best corps in the Pete Carroll coaching era.
With Kendricks on the field with Wagner and Wright, the Seahawks are likely to play more base 4-3 defense and less nickel with five defensive backs and two linebackers than they have in years.
When I asked in mid-June about Kendricks’ legal situation and how it may affect the 2019 season Carroll said “we do expect him to be on the team this year, yes.”
Kendricks contract for 2019 has a $2 million base salary and up to $2 million in per-game bonuses at $125,000 per game he is active to play. The bonuses are a hedge by the team against him possibly being in prison this season.
Sentencing guidelines in federal court in the eastern Pennsylvania suggest 2 1/2 years for Kendricks’ crime. Some there believe he will get far less than that, if not strike a plea bargain with prosecutors.
It’s possible the Seahawks have, through the NFL and Kendricks’ attorneys, a read on a likely length and scope of Kendricks’ punishment for the crime to which he admitted last summer.
The U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania charged Kendricks and a bank analyst conspired in a scheme from the summer of 2014 to spring of 2015. The alleged plot gave Kendricks non-public securities information on future investment-bank mergers.
Kendricks admitted last summer in a statement he released through his then-Cleveland Brownsthat he participated in the scheme.
The Browns subsequently released him without Kendricks playing a regular-season game for them.
The Seahawks signed him the following month, on Sept. 14. That was weeks after Wright had knee surgery, last August. It was also one game after rookie Shaquem Griffin struggled as Wright’s’ fill-in at weakside linebacker, in the opening loss at Denver.
While Wright’s knee issue lingered into November, Kendricks played in four games for Seattle last season. His first of three starts for the Seahawks came in week three against Dallas.
He said he was “blessed” to be playing football again.
He would have started 10 of the 11 games Wright missed in 2018. But Kendricks served an eight-game NFL suspension for the insider trading, from the beginning of October into December. Upon his return he injured his knee and leg starting a game against Minnesota. That put him on injured reserve and required surgery.
Kendricks missed practice on Monday. Carroll said the linebacker had a “business” matter to tend to, a curious description given Kendricks’ legal situation and admitted crime.