The Buffalo Bills lost Lorenzo Alexander, a mainstay on the team’s defense since 2016, to retirement this offseason. Along with Alexander, the Bills chose not to re-sign veteran reserve linebackers Maurice Alexander and Julian Stanford. With a combined 29 years of NFL experience between them, the Bills are losing quite a bit of veteran know-how in the linebacker group.
The Bills did sign a veteran free agent to replace Alexander on the field, but it appears that much of the heavy lifting in terms of replacing those snaps will come via a youth movement at the position. Buffalo currently has nine linebackers on the roster, and those nine players combine for 28 years of NFL experience.
In today’s edition of “91 players in 91 days,” we profile one of the young players looking to break into the rotation at linebacker.
Name: Vosean Joseph
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 230 lbs.
Age: 22 (23 on 12/15/2020)
Experience/Draft: 1; selected in the fifth round (No. 147 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft by Buffalo
Acquired: 2019 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Joseph enters the second year of his four-year rookie contract, which totals $2,841,296. Joseph carries a 2020 salary-cap hit of $690,324.
2019 Recap: Joseph only played in preseason games last year, as he was placed on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury when the Bills made their final roster cut downs. In those preseason games, Joseph totaled six total tackles.
Positional outlook: The linebacker group will look a bit different this season, but the Bills have plenty of players under contract at this time. Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds head the corps once again, as they took nearly all of the team’s snaps last season. A.J. Klein signed this offseason, and he figures to replace the majority of Lorenzo Alexander’s snaps. Tyler Matakevich, Corey Thompson, Del’Shawn Phillips, Tyrel Dodson, and Mike Bell join Joseph in competing for time on special teams and in reserve.
2020 Offseason: Joseph is fully recovered from his shoulder injury.
2020 Season outlook: If you look at the top four linebackers (Edmunds, Milano, Klein, and Matakevich) as being mostly set, that probably means that the team has room for two more players here. Thompson was a big part of the Bills’ special teams unit last year, and he filled in as a starter at times in his rookie year back in 2018 after Milano was injured. That may indicate that he has a leg up on making the final roster, leaving Joseph to scuffle for the final spot. I like Joseph’s chances thanks to his exceptional athleticism, but this is a position group that bears watching as the offseason unfolds.