Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com confirmed Rapoport's report, but Kendricks denied he had signed with the Browns.
"No, it's not accurate," Kendricks told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "That's all I have to say. I'm not really talking about it.''
Later, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports reported Kendricks and the Browns agreed to a one-year contract with a max value of $3.5 million. Tomasson said he asked Kendricks about the new report, and he hung up the phone.
Kendricks had been the subject of trade rumors prior to the start of the 2017 season. PhillyVoice.com's Jimmy Kempski reported in February 2017 the Eagles had made Kendricks available as they looked to free up salary-cap space.
Instead, Kendricks remained in Philadelphia and proceeded to have a strong year. He finished with 77 combined tackles and two sacks. Not only was the 27-year-old a strong run defender, he also registered six passes defended—his highest since his rookie year in 2012.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke highly of Kendricks last October, praising his attitude despite how his role with the team fluctuated in recent years, per Eagles Wire's David Hennessey:
"He's been a pro. I've said this from the beginning of training camp: He's gone out and worked really hard and done anything we've asked him to do. I think from the very beginning of training camp, we talked about him coming into what he's going to be asked to do, and then doing that well. I couldn't be prouder of him."
However, that wasn't enough for the Eagles to keep Kendricks on the roster this offseason. Philadelphia waived him in what was a cost-savings maneuver. NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank reported the Eagles were saving $6 million in salary-cap space and adding $1.6 million in dead money in 2018 by making Kendricks a post-June 1 cut.
NJ Advance Media's Eliot Shorr-Parks argued how the decision couldn't have been easy:
Emmanuel Acho, who was teammates with Kendricks in 2013 and 2014, said the Super Bowl champion wasn't all that upset with the move:
Even though he was looking for a way out before the season got underway, Kendricks made the most of his last year in Philadelphia. In addition to helping the Eagles in a championship, he re-established himself as a valuable linebacker.
Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner ranked him third among the best players to just miss out on PFF's top 101 list at the conclusion of the 2017 campaign.
The Browns have wasted little time rebuilding their roster after a winless 2017 season. Cleveland acquired Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, Damarious Randall and E.J. Gaines through trade or free agency. The team likely has high expectations for first-round draft pick Denzel Ward, while Baker Mayfield is the quarterback of the future.
If they complete the signing of Kendricks, the Browns would have one of the stronger linebacker trios in the NFL. Kendricks ranked 12th among 4-3 outside linebackers in Bleacher Report's year-end ranking, while Jamie Collins and Joe Schobert were No. 10 and 9, respectively, in B/R's ranking of the best inside linebackers.
One strong offseason can only do so much to help what was such an awful team a year ago, but Kendricks is another experienced veteran who would set the Browns up for big improvement in 2018.