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Eagles, Mychal Kendricks reach four-year extension

Early in training camp, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly shot down speculation that linebacker Mychal Kendricks was on the trade block.

Kelly made good on his word, as the Eagles signed Kendricks to a four-year, $29 million contract extension on Monday, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported, via a source informed of the deal. The new pact comes with $16.4 million in guarantees, per Breer, and maxes out at $31.5 million with incentives, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport added.

The annual rate of $7.25 million places Kendricks in the top-10 among inside and middle linebackers.

Kendricks openly questioned his own future in Philadelphia following pre-draft reports that the Eagles had dangled him in trade talks.

The Eagles had traded for Kiko Alonso, signed defensive leader DeMeco Ryans to a one-year extension, acquired veteran Brad Jones and devoted a third-round draft pick to Jordan Hicks, leaving an obvious glut at inside linebacker.

At 5-foot-11 and less than 240 pounds, Kendricks was also believed to fall short of Kelly's rigid physical requirements for nucleus players.

Instead, Kendricks survived as one of the few remnants of the Andy Reid era. The contract numbers suggest his role is safe this year, leaving the coaching staff to figure out how to divide snaps between Alonso, Ryans and the rotational outside linebackers.

The long-term commitment is also an acknowledgment that Kendricks closed out last season as one of the NFL's stingiest coverage linebackers in addition to showcasing impressive closing speed as a blitzer and run defender.

Not yet 25 years old, Kendricks is now a key building block in an underrated Philadelphia front seven featuring Alonso, Ryans, pass rushers Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham and run-stuffers Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Jordy Nelson's knee injury and gives its winners and losers from Week 2 of the preseason.

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