Alexander said Monday that he intends to keep playing in 2018, Jadon Ceravolo of the Bills' official site reports. "I mean, that's the plan for me," Alexander said. "Obviously, the organization has to make a decision on whether or not they want to keep me. Then once that happens, I have to earn my right back on this team."
After coming out of nowhere to produce 12.5 sacks in his first season with the Bills in 2016 at age 33, Alexander took a step back in 2017 as he was used more in run defense under a new scheme compared to his pass-rushing ways in 2016. However, he was still an effective contributor with 74 tackles (59 solo), three sacks and three forced fumbles in 16 games. The linebacker remains under contract through the 2018 season, and given his reasonable $3.4 million cap hit, it would be surprising if the Bills cut him during the offseason. That being said, Alexander could end up ceding more frequent snaps to the team's younger reserve linebackers as the Bills -- assuming they want him back -- try to keep him as fresh and effective as possible.
Alexander accrued nine tackles (six solo) against the Saints on Sunday.
The veteran linebacker now has 56 tackles (43 solo) through nine games, putting him on pace for 100 tackles this season. However, Alexander has recorded just two sacks this season, which is nothing compared to the monstrous 12.5 sacks he racked up in 2016.
Alexander played 36 defensive snaps in Sunday's win over the Raiders, logging three tackles and a forced fumble.
Alexander's owners in IDP leagues shouldn't be too concerned, as the Bills were comfortably ahead in the second half and felt it was a good chance to give the 34-year-old some rest. The linebacker remains productive with 42 tackles, three forced fumbles and two sacks on the season, though with fellow starter Ramon Humber coming back soon from a thumb injury, rookie Matt Milano -- who's been turning heads for weeks -- could start to sub in for both starters more often in an effort to keep them healthy. It's also apparent Alexander isn't going to be the sack monster he was in former head coach Rex Ryan's defense, as he put up 12.5 last season, despite his limited impact as a pass rusher in his previous NFL campaigns.
Alexander posted seven tackles and a forced fumble in Sunday's 20-16 loss to the Bengals.
The 34-year-old continues to play like a man 10 years his junior, with 30 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles through five games. He's receiving a near full allotment of plays as well, with 125 snaps over the last two weeks, something that should continue with fellow outside starter Ramon Humber out for foreseeable future. Alexander won't reach the 12.5 sacks that came out of nowhere last season, but he'll remain productive as a secondary IDP.
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