Alex Anzalone is back with the Detroit Lions and he’s returning to a significant raise. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Lions are re-signing Anzalone to a three-year deal worth $18.75 million.
That represents a significant raise for Anzalone, who re-signed with the Lions last year on a one-year, $2.25 million deal.
That said, Anzalone is coming off his best year in the NFL, and he was extremely well-liked by Detroit’s staff and peers.
“He’s playing at a high level, he’s the quarterback of our defense,” coach Dan Campbell said back in December. “He’s versatile, he’s a really good athlete. He’s smart, he knows exactly what (Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) AG’s looking for. He knows the situations that come up. He gets everything in order and he’s another guy, man. He’s a big locker room guy, man, the guys love him, and he knows – they know he’d do anything for them. So, he’s playing at a high level and I’m glad we got him.”
Anzalone had expressed a desire to come back to Detroit but stressed several times the importance of providing for his family. At age 28, this was likely Anzalone’s best chance to cash in. By returning to Detroit, he not only gets to play for a coaching staff he’s comfortable with and loves, but he cashed in right at the time he was hoping to.
While Anzalone’s contract is probably more expensive than some were projecting, it’s worth noting that other free agent linebackers got significant deals, including Tremaine Edmunds (four years, $72 million) and Germaine Pratt (three years, $21 million).
We also don’t know how much guaranteed money is included in the contract yet, so we’ll see the true value of this deal when those details are out.