By Adam Aniba
Buffalo Bills middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds will be one of the hottest names when free agency kicks off in March. Although the draft will be a way for the Commanders to address positions of need, no middle linebacker in this draft class possess the type of talent that Edmunds brings to the table.
The former Va Tech linebacker is a big reason why the Bills defense has had success over the last few seasons. Since being drafted 16th overall in '18, Edmunds has played and started in 74 career games registering 565 combined tackles (359 solo), 32 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 18 QB hits, 5 ints. 35 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles.
Although the Bills will certainly attempt to retain Edmunds with the franchise tag on the table, they're currently over the cap. Per Buffalorumblings.com the Bills will have their work cut out for them.
"The Bills will need to trim over $22 million in cap space to be compliant — and that’s before they make any moves, or budget for rookies."
Washington has lacked a true difference maker at MIKE linebacker, since the retirement of London Fletcher. Although free agent linebacker Cole Holcomb could be re-signed, he's not starting material and is better utilized as a backup WLB/MLB.
Having a middle linebacker that excels in coverage is imperative for Washington's defense to take the next step and keep pace with the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants.
At 6'5" 250 lbs, Edmunds packs a punch, but also displays the quick twitch attributes to be effective in coverage. Per Spotrac.com $11M annually is the market value for the former Hokies linebacker, but a 3-down MIKE linebacker of his caliber is difficult to find.
Re-signing Daron Payne should be a priority and will involve a large chunk of Washington's '23 cap. In saying that, adding a true game changer could elevate Del Rio's defense into a potential Top 5 unit and keep them competitive in the dramatically improved NFC East for years to come.
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