Alex Anzalone had a solid rebound season with the Detroit Lions this year, and he seems to be have his eye on a multi-year deal as he hits free agency again.
After a fairly rough first season with the Detroit Lions in 2021, it felt like linebacker Alex Anzalone was only re-signed because it could be done on another cheap one-year deal. But he had a solid rebound campaign this year, with a career and team-high 125 tackles.
As noted by Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ website, Anzalone’s 21 total quarterback pressures ranked fourth-most among all linebackers this season. He was also one of just two linebackers in the league with 115 tackles along with a sack (he had 1.5 sacks), an interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. He also had seven tackles for loss and six passes defensed.
That said, Anzalone again feels fairly replaceable as he hits free agency again. The coaching staff clearly values his intangibles. He has worn the green dot as the defensive signal caller, and his success in that role can’t be overlooked when looking at how the Lions defensive improved later this past season.
Anzalone had a perfect analogy for that defensive turnaround during an appearance on Sirius XM last month, as people lament how the Lions’ defense still didn’t finish the season very well overall statistically.
"The way I put it is, you’re early in a semester and you fail the first two or three tests, it’s hard to bounce back from that statistically,” “If you look at our numbers, I think from Week 9 or Week 10 on, we were really a dominant defense."
Alex Anzalone seems to be seeking a multi-year deal in free agency
As noted by Twentyman, Anzalone talked about his upcoming free agency and wanting to stay with the Lions right after the season.
"I feel like obviously it’s a fit, but there are multiple layers to that,” Anzalone said right after the season ended about signing back in Detroit. “I’m going into Year 7 and you have to take care of your family, but I love Dan (Campbell) and AG (Aaron Glenn) and love what they are doing here.”"
Coming off the best season of his career, Anzalone is in position to maximize his value on the open market and get more than a one-year deal for let’s say, $3-5 millon per year. If the Lions don’t come with an offer that compares to others he gets, Anzalone’s decision to go elsewhere will become easy.