After being a prominent part of the Lions defense last season, linebacker Alex Anzalone is coming back on another one-year deal.
With some familiarity with head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn from time together in New Orleans, Alex Anzalone signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions last offseason. He’s coming back, with the team announcing they’ve re-signed the veteran linebacker. Safety Jalen Elliott, linebacker Shon Dion Hamilton have also been re-signed.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Anzalone’s deal is for one year and worth up to $4 million.
Anzalone immediately stepped into a big role for the Lions. He played every defensive snap in 11 of the first 12 games last season, before injuries hit. He missed the last three games of the season after he was placed on IR with a shoulder injury.
Anzalone finished with a career-high 78 total tackles in what amounted to 12 games, with seven pass breakups and an interception. But Pro Football Focus graded him out as the second-worst player on the entire Lions’ team in 2021 (34.1), so an upgrade seemed easy enough to find.
Starting job might not be guaranteed for Alex Anzalone
Take social media for what you will, but Anzalone seemed to tease his looming free agent departure in January. But on Monday morning his wife teased that he was traveling to Detroit, presumably to re-sign, and that’s what happened.
Anzalone immediately spoke to the media after news of his re-signing.
Anzalone’s deal with the Lions last year was for $1.75 million, so he’s presumably getting a bit of a raise in terms of guaranteed money with the ability to earn “up to” $4 million. The easy assumption is he’ll be a starter and a prominent piece of the defense again next season, but his broader level of performance last season is ripe for competition. Leadership intangibles are fine and dandy, but the fact remains Anzalone was a key part of a Detroit run defense that was at times dreadful in 2021.