Free agency focus: What to do with LB Lorenzo Alexander - The Buffalo News
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Free agency focus: What to do with LB Lorenzo Alexander

Unrestricted free agency opens in the NFL with the start of the new league year on March 9. With 22 players set to hit the open market, the Buffalo Bills have plenty of decisions to make between now and then. The Buffalo News will take a look at each player with an expiring contract, and offer a verdict on what the team should do. Next: Robert Woods.

Position: Outside linebacker. Age: 33. 2016 stats: 16 games (16 starts), 76 tackles, 12.5 sacks, six passes defensed, three forced fumbles, one interception.

Working in his favor: Originally signed to be a contributor on special teams, Alexander turned in perhaps the best story of the 2016 season, finishing third in the NFL in sacks by blowing away his career total of nine with a breakout year. He capped off his dream season by winning the Pro Bowl co-MVP. He's a well-respected leader in the locker room who is an prime example of what a true professional looks like.
Working against him: Alexander will be 34 at the start of next season, and his breakout season came in a different defense. There is a fair question to ask about how well he'll fit in the 4-3 scheme employed by new coach Sean McDermott, especially considering the Bills have starting defensive ends in Shaq Lawson and Jerry Hughes. Playing at 235 pounds gave him the speed necessary to come off the edge, but it might make him a bit undersized for defensive end.

Verdict: Alexander's breakout season very well may have priced him out of Buffalo. He deserves to chase one final big payday coming off his breakout year, and the Bills simply don't have the space under the salary cap to give it to him. It would be great to get Alexander back, but his age, contract expectations and scheme fit all add up to him being a better fit elsewhere.

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