Lions Re-Sign Productive Veteran Linebacker to New Contract

Alex Anzalone

Getty Linebacker Alex Anzalone sacks Jimmy Garoppolo in Lions vs. 49ers.

The Detroit Lions need depth at linebacker this offseason, and while the team is looking at the market, they knew they had a player they liked on their roster in Alex Anzalone and brought him back.

When the legal tampering period opened on Monday, March 14, the Lions were active with their own players, bringing a handful of them back and not allowing them to enter free agency.

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The Lions revealed with a tweet that they were indeed bringing back Anzalone with a new contract. The team also said they were bringing back safety Jalen Elliott, linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton and safety C.J. Moore.

Detroit has a weak spot at linebacker this offseason, so keeping Anzalone is certainly a notable move for the team considering how they need players at the position for the future and the present. Anzalone is a quality veteran who fits the scheme and can provide the team with some good things in between the lines.

Anzalone’s Play Earned Him 2022 Look With Lions

A free agent again in 2022 like he was last offseason, the Lions have seen some solid play out of Anzalone this year. Though he did not get a shot to finish strong thanks to injury, his statistics were already on a solid footing this year with the team pushing toward the end of the season. Before injury, Anzalone had put up 78 tackles, 1 sack and 1 interception with the Lions in 2021 and was a veteran leader for the team’s defense under Aaron Glenn. More than that, he’s been a quality addition to the community and the locker room as this interview with showed from earlier this year:

Anzalone might have found his perfect fit in Detroit, and as a result, it was long clear his play and his attitude earned him another year with the team if they want him back. In terms of depth, the Lions could do a lot worse than a 2022 reunion.

Anzalone’s Career Stats & Highlights

Coming into the NFL as a third-round pick out of Florida in 2017, it didn’t take Anzalone long to make his presence felt with the Saints and become one of the team’s fan favorites. With his flowing locks and tough style, Anzalone managed to put up decent stats with the Saints and has 123 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception and 3 passes defended to his credit while in the league. If there’s been one red flag about Anzalone’s career at this point in time, it’s been injuries. He suffered a shoulder injury in 2017 and then was placed on the IR in 2019 with a knee injury. Unfortunately, that happened again late in Anzalone’s 2021 campaign.

A look at the highlights from his first few seasons in the NFL shows an athlete who can move:

Those highlights are similar to what Anzalone has provided the Lions this past season. As a result, he is coming back to help the defense he joined last year once again.

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