Buffalo Bills: A.J. Klein expected to re-sign; should factor into LB battle

A.J. Klein, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
A.J. Klein, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Buffalo Bills have yet to find a clear replacement for former Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who left in free agency and signed with the Chicago Bears. General manager Brandon Beane indicated that the team is prepared to have a competition through the offseason to find their next starting middle linebacker.

At the time, Beane mentioned the three linebackers on the roster as part of the competition with Tyrel Dodson, Terrel Bernard, and Baylon Spector. That competition should expand this week as A.J. Klein is expected to re-sign with the Buffalo Bills, according to WGR550’s Sal Capaccio.

Buffalo Bills make a smart move by bringing back A.J. Klein

The expected return of linebacker A.J. Klein is a smart move by the Buffalo Bills and one that makes a lot of sense. While the coaching staff would like to see someone like Terrel Bernard emerge as the starter, as he was their third round pick last year, this is far from a guarantee.

In fact, the three players on the roster combined for five career NFL starts and Dodson has all five. Meanwhile, A.J. Klein is a veteran linebacker that knows Sean McDermott’s defense very well, dating back to their time together from 2013 to 2016 when Klein had 23 starts for the Carolina Panthers.

The Bills would bring Klein to Buffalo originally ahead of the 2020 season and he played two seasons there. They would release Klein last offseason due to salary cap reasons but eventually would bring him back at the end of the season after he was released by the Chicago Bears.

The confidence the team has in Klein was evident in the fact that Klein would get the start in place of Edmunds in his second week back against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.

When the Buffalo Bills make it official, the signing of A.J. Klein doesn’t necessarily preclude them from drafting a linebacker in the 2023 NFL Draft but certainly gives them a backup plan and doesn’t force them to reach.

Next. Predicting the Buffalo Bills depth chart on offense after free agency. dark