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Seahawks sign linebacker facing up to 25 years in prison for insider trading

Mychal Kendricks signed with the Browns in June, only to be released after he was charged with insider trading. (Associated Press)

Mychal Kendricks could be facing a very long term in federal prison. The Seahawks, however, are in short-term need of help at linebacker, so they decided to sign him.

Seattle is thin at linebacker, leading the team to bring in Kendricks, who, as first reported Thursday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is even expected to play for Seattle on Monday, when the team travels to Chicago to take on the Bears in prime time. Meanwhile, the seven-year NFL veteran is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to insider trading.

“I know that I made the decision to accept information, secret information, and it wasn’t the right thing to do,” Kendricks, 27, said last week in a federal courthouse in Philadelphia. He helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl last season, then signed with the Browns in the offseason, only to be released by Cleveland late last month, after he was charged.

The Seahawks have a need at linebacker. K.J. Wright has been out since undergoing minor knee surgery last month and Bobby Wagner (groin) was placed on the injury report Thursday. In Wright’s absence, rookie Shaquem Griffin, who gained notice for excelling in college despite having had his left hand amputated during childhood, struggled to make a Week 1 impact while splitting time with Austin Calitro.

Kendricks reportedly could face up to 25 years in prison but is likely to receive a significantly shorter term, in part because of his guilty plea. Although he is not scheduled to be sentenced until January, he could be suspended by the NFL before then.

“The matter is under review,” an NFL spokesman said of Kendricks (via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). “He is currently permitted to sign and participate in activities including games.”

Before making his plea, Kendricks admitted to participating in a scheme with a Harvard-educated friend who had worked as a Wall Street investment banker before becoming a writer for TV shows such as “Black-ish” and “The Simpsons.” The friend, Damilare Sonoiki, was alleged to have accepted $10,000 in cash as well as other perks from Kendricks, including Eagles tickets and access to exclusive social events, in exchange for nonpublic information related to planned mergers and acquisitions.

Kendricks used the information to make $1.2 million in illegal profits on four major trading deals between 2013 and 2015. “I invested money with a former friend of mine who I thought I could trust and who I greatly admired,” he said in an August statement. “His background as a Harvard graduate and an employee of Goldman Sachs gave me a false sense of confidence.”

In releasing Kendricks, the Browns said in a statement that when they signed him to a one-year deal worth up to $3.5 million in June, they knew he was involved with a federal investigation but believed he was no more than a victim. Once presented with “a different set of facts,” they parted ways with the linebacker, who had made an appearance with the Browns on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

Sonoiki is also expected to plead guilty in the case, when his court date is set.

A second-round pick by the Eagles in 2012 out of Cal-Berkeley, Kendricks played in 85 regular season games over six years in Philadelphia, making 74 starts with 454 tackles, five fumble recoveries and three interceptions. He had a team-high eight tackles in January’s NFC championship game win over the Vikings, and he added four tackles in the Super Bowl win over the Patriots.

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