“In the exit meeting [after Buffalo’s playoff loss to Jacksonville], coach made it sound like they wanted me back,” Brown tells Rodak. “He said some things that sounded like that. But you never know what’s going to happen during free agency. I would love to go back to Buffalo. That’s the No. 1 choice for me.”
Brown, 25, has been a full-time starter since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2014. Given the staff turnover in Buffalo, Brown has played under three head coaches, and thus, three defensive schemes: 2014 and 2017 were spent in 4-3 fronts, while Brown was deployed in a 3-4 look during Rex Ryan‘s two years as the Bills’ coach.
Brown is clearly more productive in a 4-3 front, as he’s graded as a league-average linebacker in that scheme while registering barely roster-able play while in a 3-4, per Pro Football Focus. He won’t have to learn a new defense if he stays in Buffalo, as head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will both return.
With free agency scheduled to open next month, Brown is likely searching for a multi-year deal that pays him in the neighborhood of $5-6MM annually. If he does reach free agency, Brown will find an open market that is well-stocked with linebackers, which could potentially limit his suitors. Zach Brown, NaVorro Bowman, Avery Williamson, Preston Brown, Demario Davis, Anthony Hitchens and Derrick Johnson are just a few of the off-ball ‘backers who are scheduled to be available next month.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.