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2019 Buffalo Bills scouting report: linebacker Deon Lacey

One of Buffalo’s special-teams leaders looks to reprise that role in 2019

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills core group of special-teams players from 2018 appears on track to remain largely the same in 2019. The team may have changed coordinators, firing Danny Crossman and hiring Heath Farwell to replace him, but the team has kept most of its special-teams players on the roster.

The leader in special-teams snaps in each of head coach Sean McDermott’s two seasons at the helm in Buffalo has been the same person. In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile that player.

Name: Deon Lacey

Number: 44

Position: LB

Height/Weight: 6’3” 235 lbs.

Age: 29 (30 on 7/18/20)

Experience/Draft: 3; signed as UDFA with Dallas Cowboys after the 2013 NFL Draft

College: West Alabama

Acquired: Claimed off waivers from Miami Dolphins on 9/3/17

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Lacey re-signed with Buffalo this offseason, inking a one-year contract worth a total of $645,000. As an exclusive-rights free agent (ERFA), he really didn’t have a choice once Buffalo offered him the contract. There is no guaranteed money as part of the tender, so Buffalo can cut him with no cap penalty if they so choose.

2018 Recap: Lacey led the Bills in special-teams snaps for the second consecutive season, playing on 299 snaps (68.11%). He also played 14 defensive snaps, up from eight on defense in 2017. He finished last season with seven tackles.

Positional outlook: Lacey is one of ten linebackers on Buffalo’s current roster. The three starters (Lorenzo Alexander, Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano) are essentially set in stone, so Lacey will battle to maintain his roster spot with other veteran special-teams players (Maurice Alexander, Julian Stanford) and some young players (Corey Thompson, Juwan Foggie, Tyrel Dodson, Vosean Joseph).

2019 Offseason: Lacey has participated in all offseason activities to date.

2019 Season outlook: Barring an injury or a phenomenal performance from some of Buffalo’s young players, Lacey will probably find himself among Buffalo’s top special-teams players once again in 2019. While it’s possible that the team could cut him, opting instead to keep multiple rookies who may develop into long-term starters as reserves/special teamers, it’s more likely that McDermott keeps his core group intact. Lacey is as essential to that core as any special teamer on the roster, so I imagine that he’ll remain in 2019.