5 Players To Watch: Week 2 Seahawks vs. Bears
After one game the Seahawks are so concerned about their situation at linebacker they are expected to sign Mychal Kendricks, who has admitted to insider trading in a case that could send him to prison.
Kendricks started the Super Bowl at outside linebacker for Philadelphia in February but has been unemployed after admitting late last month to insider trading. The Cleveland Browns immediately released him.
He is expected to sign what will amount to a week-to-week contract with Seattle for the remainder of this season, in time for him to play Monday night at Chicago, a league source told The News Tribune Thursday evening.
So essentially, a rental.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported Kendricks’ signing with the Seahawks, after his free-agent visit earlier Thursday.
Seahawks’ Pro Bowl weakside linebacker K.J. Wright had arthroscopic knee surgery 17 days ago and remains out indefinitely, though coach Pete Carroll said Wright began running again this week.
Last week in their opening loss at Denver, the Seahawks started rookie Shaquem Griffin at weakside linebacker. That did not go well. Griffin struggled in pass coverage and run defense; confusion between him and fellow rookie Tre Flowers at right cornerback caused a Broncos running back to be alone in the left flat for an easy, 30-yard touchdown in the first half. By the second quarter, Seattle’s coaches replaced Griffin on early downs with Austin Calitro, a second-year free agent who is on the roster as the backup middle linebacker to All-Pro Bobby Wagner.
Wagner missed Thursday’s practice with a new injury the team listed for the first time as a groin issue.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll talked to the media before Wagner missed practice, and before the agreement with Kendricks went from possible to expected. Carroll is next scheduled to talk to the media on Saturday, the day the team leaves for Chicago.
Kendricks’ expected addition for the game against the Bears Monday could be seen an desperate or opportunistic, depending how cynical you view the world.
His contract is week to week because it’s coming after week one. Vested veterans added to rosters after week one do not have their salaries for that entire season guaranteed.
At the very least Kendricks’ arrival indicates how concerned the Seahawks are with Wright not returning to play soon, Griffin’s and Calitro’s play behind him, and now Calitro possibly being needed to back-fill Wagner at middle linebacker.
Kendricks, 27, started the Super Bowl at weakside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. That’s the same base alignment the Seahawks use. The 2011 Pac-12 defensive player of the year for California was a second-round pick by Philadelphia in 2012. The Eagles released him this offseason. He signed a one-year contract with Cleveland in June.
The Browns cut him last month. That was hours after 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 investment-bank mergers that were on the horizon.
Kendricks admitted last month in statement he released through the Browns that he participated in the scheme.
“I would like to apologize,” Kendricks said in his statement. “Four years ago, I participated in insider trading, and I deeply regret it. I invested money with a former friend of mine who I thought I could trust and who I greatly admired. His background as a Harvard graduate and an employee of Goldman Sachs gave me a false sense of confidence.
“To this point, I had worked my tail off since I was 5 years old to become a football player. I was drawn in by the allure of being more than just a football player. While I didn’t fully understand all of the details of the illegal trades, I knew it was wrong, and I wholeheartedly regret my actions.
“Since the beginning of the investigation, I have fully cooperated with the authorities and will continue to do so. I accept full responsibility for my actions. Although I did not take any of the profits for myself, I am committed to repaying all of the funds gained illegally and accept the consequences of my actions.
“I sincerely apologize to my coaches, the owners, and my teammates on the Eagles and the Browns, the NFL, and the magnificent fans to whom I owe my career. I also apologize to my family, who I have failed in this. You all deserve better, and I will work my hardest to re-earn your trust and respect, serve as an advocate to educate others, and show you that I will never be involved in anything like this again. Thank you.”
Kendricks was charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, and aiding and abetting. The maximum sentence for his charges is 25 years with potential fines exceeding $5 million, though as a first-time offender Kendricks is believed by legal experts to be facing 2 1/2 to 3 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for January, after the current NFL regular season ends.
Many legal experts believe his admission of participating in insider trading is a sign he is seeking a plea deal to avoid that sentencing.
In the meantime, and while Wright recovers from knee surgery, Kendricks is apparently headed into the middle line of the Seahawks’ defense that just changed again.