Lorenzo Alexander recorded more sacks in 2016 than he had in his entire NFL career. The Buffalo Bills have exclusive rights to negotiate with him until 4:00 p.m. Tuesday and use the opportunity at this past weekend’s NFL Combine to discuss a new contract with Alexander’s agent.
“I've been told Bills meeting with [free agent] LB Lorenzo Alexander's reps went well this weekend and sides will continue to talk,” tweeted Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 in Buffalo. “Nothing imminent,” he added.
A 2017 Pro Bowl selection, Alexander is expected to fetch $5 to $10 million per season on a short-term deal due to his advanced age. CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora predicts thinks “the prospects for Alexander should be ripe,” naming the Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns as possible landing spots.
The Bills can’t sign a new contract with Alexander until the new league year begins this Thursday at 4:00 p.m. because they used the veteran minimum salary benefit to sign him in 2016. Alexander’s cap hit was next to nothing in 2016 thanks to the rule, which paid Alexander $885,000 but only counted $600,000 against the cap. (Article 27 of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement has more information.) The only extension allowable would be a one-year deal for the veteran minimum, something Alexander would be foolish to agree to.
Buffalo has Shaq Lawson and Jerry Hughes as their top pass rushers and shouldn’t commit that much money to Alexander as a one-year wonder. With Lawson fully recovered from his injury, it should be his show now. Still, veteran depth on defense and special teams is important, just not $5 to $10 million important.