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3 ideal free agency landing spots for All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks

NFL free agency is right around the corner, with the official start date coming on March 15. But for players who have been cut loose from their contracts, whether for cap reasons or simply to make a change, they can sign with a new team immediately. Players who fit under this category include the newly released Eric Kendricks.

Since Kendricks is the most recent player to hit the open market, we figured we’d outline three possible free agency fits for the 31-year-old All-Pro middle linebacker. Plenty of teams are sure to have interest, but which situation is the best for the Clovis, California native?

Los Angeles Rams load up with more All-Pro talent

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Just because the Minnesota Vikings decided to move on from Kendricks after eight seasons, it doesn’t mean he can’t still play at a high level. He’s led the team in tackles each of the past two seasons while typically providing above-average coverage from a middle linebacker. In Minnesota’s case, they wanted the $9.5 million in cap savings his release provided.

But as they say, one’s trash can be another’s treasure, and that’s the exact scenario here with the Los Angeles Rams, who have parted with Bobby Wagner this offseason. Kendricks can immediately step back into a starting role and would be joining a talented cast led by game-wrecking pass-rusher Aaron Donald.

After ranking 21st in pass defense in 2022, the Rams could benefit from adding Kendricks to the middle of their defense. While the 31-year-old linebacker slipped a bit this past season making the adjustment to a 3-4 defense, he posted a coverage grade north of 72.6 each year from 2019-21, per Pro Football Focus. Ultimately, Kendricks could be a lower-cost replacement for Wagner.

Related: NFL insider expects Los Angeles Rams to move on from Pro Bowl player

Eric Kendricks goes back home, signs with LA Chargers

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Kendricks has the chance to choose where he plays for the first time in his NFL career, he could very well opt to go back home and sign with a team like the Rams or Los Angeles Chargers. Kendricks clearly enjoyed his time growing up in California, choosing to stay home and play for the UCLA Bruins, which helped him become a second-round pick back in 2015.

The Chargers may catch Kendricks’s eye thanks to already being a contender as he still is in pursuit of a Super Bowl ring, being that he came from the Vikings. He might even be able to help coach up 2020 first-round pick Kenneth Murray, who has yet to flourish at the NFL level.

With both Drue Tranquill and Troy Reeder set for free agency, the Chargers will likely look to add someone to their middle linebacker depth chart, and what better way to do so than with a Pro Bowl tackling machine like Kendricks?

Related: Top NFL free agents of 2023: From 1-400, Derek Carr, Bobby Wagner join growing market

Buffalo Bills replace Tremaine Edmunds with another Pro Bowl linebacker

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills
Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills may be faced with losing two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds to free agency this offseason. One potential stopgap solution could very well be Kendricks. Unlike the other two teams on our landing spots list, the Bills play a 4-3 defense, which is the scheme Kendricks excelled in for seven of his eight seasons in Minnesota.

Kendricks may be seeking a way to get back to a defense he’s familiar with, and the Bills would still give him a shot at reaching the ever-so-elusive Super Bowl. Looking to maintain their top-five defense, should Edmunds leave as a free agent, Kendricks could provide a fine alternative for Bills Mafia to root for.

Related: Bold predictions for 2023 NFL free agency: Destinations for more than 50 top players

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