Seeking to further bolster a defense filled with holes in 2016, the Washington Redskins signed free agent LB Zach Brown today, according to reports.
Source: The #Redskins have agreed to terms with FA LB Zach Brown, pending a physical. Big-name free agent off the market.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 3, 2017
— Michael J. Katz (@NFLAGENTKATZ) April 3, 2017
A native of Maryland, Brown was drafted out of North Carolina in the second round by the Tennessee Titans in 2012. However, Brown disappointed and was released after the 2015 season, a season in which he lost the starting job he’d held since his rookie year.
Picked up the Buffalo Bills, Brown shined in the system of head coach Rex Ryan, racking up 149 tackles, four sacks, four pass defenses, two forced fumbles and an interception en route to his first Pro Bowl honor.
The 27-year-old quickly became one of the game’s best interior linebackers in 2016, a year in which he was paid $2 million and was expected to back up first round draft pick Reggie Ragland. However, Ragland was injured to start the season and Brown took a starting job and never let it go.
Brown is wickedly fast, a one-time sprint champion in high school. He’s a solid tackler and can blitz from the interior, as his 14 career sacks indicates. Brown has forced 11 turnovers in five seasons, turning two of them into touchdowns on his own.
Due to his speed, the 6’1″ and 248-lbs Brown is a good coverage linebacker, able to run with running backs and tight ends in the open field.
It is unclear if Brown will replace IBs Will Compton, a restricted free agent who has not yet signed his tender, or Mason Foster, the other returning starting inside linebacker from 2016. Compton is the better player of the two — Foster has difficulty in coverage.
In any case, CB Bashaud Breeland is happy to have Brown on board:
Let's make this happen a sc defensive team turrrrrrntttttttttt https://t.co/700sK6hvrj
— Bashaud Breeland (@Salute_me17) April 2, 2017