Lorenzo Alexander will play in the Pro Bowl tonight, and in less than two months, the Buffalo Bills must decide if they’ll re-sign him or let him depart in free agency. The 33-year-old, who tallied 12.5 sacks in 2016 en route to All-Pro honors, made the veteran minimum on a one-year deal and recently spoke about his impending free agency in a talk with Alex Marvez on Sirius XM radio.
“The Bills have reached out to me,” said Alexander. “They want me to be back. I’m waiting to see what all the offers are on the table. My wife and I will sit down and make the best decision for ourselves.”
He also didn’t shy away from making it known he’d like to come back to Buffalo. Alexander’s words were made with a different tone than the one Stephon Gilmore took while interviewed during Pro Bowl week.
“I would love to go back. It’s a great football city, a blue-collar town and family oriented. It’s right up my alley.”
From a size standpoint, at 6’1” and 245 pounds, Alexander is better suited to play the pass-rushing outside linebacker role he played in 2016 than a more coverage-heavy outside linebacker spot in Sean McDermott’s 4-3. That could be one of the reasons the Bills won’t want to spend a pretty penny to retain the former undrafted free-agent.
However, in Carolina, McDermott morphed the 6’3”, 255-pound Mario Addison, a (small-ish) defensive end by trade, into a part-time, stand-up, blitzing linebacker. He had 6.5 sacks in 2014, 6.0 in 2015, and led the Panthers with 9.5 sacks in 2016. Therefore, despite the straight-forward approach of his 4-3, McDermott has proven to be able to get production out of an edge-rusher who takes on some linebacker duties.
Will that factor into the Bills making a competitive offer to keep Alexander in Buffalo? If he hits the open market, he’ll be one of the most unique free-agents in quite some time as a soon-to-be 34-year-old coming off a 12.5-sack season that eclipsed his previous career sack total in nine years in the NFL.