JOHN WAWROW, ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Journeyman linebacker Lorenzo Alexander’s breakout season with the Buffalo Bills has paid off.
The 10-year-veteran was rewarded for leading Buffalo with 12 1/2 sacks by agreeing to a two-year, $9 million contract to re-sign with the Bills on Saturday.
The team announced the agreement, and a person with direct knowledge of the contract revealed its details to The Associated Press. The person said $4.1 million of the contract is guaranteed, and spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because the Bills did not disclosed the contract’s length and value.
That’s a considerable increase in pay for the 33-year-old Alexander, who was supposed to play a backup and special teams role in signing a one-year $885,000 deal with the Bills last spring.
Instead, Alexander won a starting job in training camp and more than doubled the nine career sacks he had in his first nine NFL seasons split over three teams.
He became Buffalo’s first player to register a sack in each of the first five games of a season since sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982. Alexander finished the year being voted a second-team All Pro, and earned his second Pro Bowl selection.
Alexander then capped his year by being named the Pro Bowl’s defensive MVP after his late interception helped seal the AFC’s 20-13 victory.
Alexander credited his career resurgence on the additional time he had rehabilitating a foot injury that hampered his performance over the previous three seasons in Arizona and Oakland.
The test now for Alexander is finding his niche in what will be a revamped defense under new coach Sean McDermott, who was hired in January following Rex Ryan’s dismissal. McDermott is Carolina’s former defensive coordinator and intends to introduce a four-lineman, three-linebacker formation after the Bills mostly played in a 3-4 scheme under Ryan.
Alexander spent his first six seasons in Washington, where he established a reputation for being a key special teams player.
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