The initial wave of free agency in the NFL has passed, with many of the biggest available free agents signing lucrative deals with their new teams. One free agent who hasn’t signed a new deal is middle linebacker Preston Brown, who not only led the Buffalo Bills in total tackles in 2017 (144), he led the NFL for stops during the regular season.
UPDATE: Preston Brown is signing with the Cincinnati Bengals, per Ryan Tablot.
According to Ryan Talbot of NYUpstate.com, the Bills have made a “standing offer” to bring Brown back in 2018. Brown, the sources said, is still considering and evaluating his options before making a decision.
Brown, 25, came up with 84 solo stops, with many of those tackles occurring down field. He logged seven games with 10+ tackles, including 15 combined stops during a Week 16 loss to the New England Patriots.
Over the final three weeks of the season, Brown was in on a league-high 37 tackles, but despite such gaudy tackling stats, Brown earned an overall grade of average (71.6) from Pro Football Focus and graded out as the 42nd best linebacker in the league.
Tackling has been Brown’s strength since he was drafted 73rd overall (third round) out of the University of Louisville in the 2014 NFL draft. Brown has recorded 100-plus tackles every year he’s been with the Bills, with his tackle totals rising from 108 in his rookie year, to 117 in 2015, 135 in 2016, and a career-high 144 tackles in 2017.
While the Bills have been players in free agency, inking Star Lotulelei and Trent Murphy to free agent deals while re-signing veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams, Buffalo hasn’t yet addressed its linebacking corps. Julian Stanford was signed to a free agent contract, but he should primarily play on special teams.