Sources are reporting that free agent linebacker and special teams star Lorenzo Alexander has signed a 3-year deal to play for the Arizona Cardinals. The deal is worth $9.5 million and offers a realistic chance to start at linebacker, something that would not happen in Washington without an injury to a starter.
UDPATE: Alexander is saying he left for Arizona after initially favoring the Redskins because Washington dramatically lowered their offer at the last minute. From Pro Football Talk:
Alexander, who will turn 30 on the last day of May, played his college ball at Cal-Berkeley before signing with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2005. The Panthers released him in 2006 and he signed with the Baltimore Ravens, where he remained for five days before they cut him, too. He signed with the Redskins and joined the practice squad in October 2006 and made his NFL debut in week 5 of the 2007 season against the Detroit Lions. Five weeks later he got his first NFL start, against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Alexander played defensive line for the team and starred on special teams until 2010 when new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett moved the incredibly versatile player to outside linebacker, where he played for two years. Head Coach Mike Shanahan fell in love with Alexander's special teams play, calling him the best special teams player he had ever been around. Appropriately, midway through the 2010 season, Alexander was named Captain of the special teams.
In 2012 Alexander was moved again, this time to back up at inside linebacker. Meanwhile, he continued to flourish on special teams and was named to the 2013 Pro Bowl in honor of his work in kick coverage.
Alexander's absence will leave a hole in the special teams, but the Redskins may be able to cover it up with other players currently on the roster. In addition, inside linebacking depth should not be difficult to find, particularly if the very promising Keenan Robinson, a 4th round pick out of Texas who is rehabbing in that state with Brian Orakpo, comes back fully healthy.
For me, the play in the video below will sum up Lorenzo Alexander in Washington. A great special teams play made while playing for teams that were mostly pretty bad. Goodbye, Lorenzo. The Redskins will miss you and I'll miss a great talker. He always had time for the media and almost always had something interesting to say.