The Buffalo Bills have agreed to sign linebacker A.J. Klein, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, to a contract. That information comes from NFL insider Adam Caplan. Per Caplan, the deal extends for up to three years, at a cost of $18 million. $9.7 million of that contract is fully guaranteed for Klein.
This is the first time we saw the Bills dip their toes into the 2020 free-agency water. Klein, who turns 29 at the end of July, is entering his eighth NFL season. He entered the league with the (yes) Carolina Panthers, as a fifth-round draft pick. After four years with the team, which saw him grow into a rotational starter, Klein signed a three-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.
The 6’1” 240-lb Klein will compete, and likely project as the leader in the clubhouse, for Buffalo’s vacancy at Will linebacker following Lorenzo Alexander’s retirement. He’s not as versatile as Alexander, but can take on the work of moving into gaps and tackling ball carriers. In 2019, Klein played in 15 games (all starts) for the Saints. He had 69 combined tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and 2.5 sacks. He likely won’t play on every down, but when the Bills showed interest in Christian Kirksey last week, it forecast their desire to have a reliable third linebacker on the roster. Klein can be that player.