Washington Redskins Biggest Offseason Mistake Was Losing Lorenzo Alexander

John BibbAnalyst IIIApril 13, 2013

In 2012, special teams menace Lorenzo Alexander accounted for 42 total tackles, 32 of them solo, and 2.5 sacks.
In 2012, special teams menace Lorenzo Alexander accounted for 42 total tackles, 32 of them solo, and 2.5 sacks.Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins had only one free-agent player sign with another team during the 2013 offseason.

Unfortunately, it was 2012 Pro Bowler and special teams co-captain linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who signed a three-year, $9.5 million contract ($3 million guaranteed) with the Arizona Cardinals.

Alexander spent his entire NFL playing career with the Redskins and was one of the more versatile players on the team—switching from offense to defense within his first three years with the team. He even played as a reserve tight end during that transitional period.

His ability to adjust earned him the nickname "One Man Gang" by his teammates.

During his fourth year with the Redskins, he moved to special teams and was selected a co-captain by his teammates.

He would later be named the Redskins winner and 2010 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, awarded to an NFL player recognizing their off-field contributions and community service.

Alexander would receive the honor again in 2011 as his non-profit charity organization—The Lorenzo Alexander A.C.E.S. Foundation—provides local youth guidance and direction while stressing the importance of Accountability, pride in Community and Educational excellence.

Since its inception, Alexander has been a very active member of his charity and repeatedly receives support from fellow Redskins. He routinely updates his Facebook page and posts messages on Twitter soliciting support for his latest charitable event.

Ride to Provide just over a week away. Sign up now at ridetoprovide.org and support our military heroes!

— Lorenzo Alexander (@onemangang97) April 12, 2013

Last season, Alexander was again asked to adjust to where the team needed him the most, moving from inside to outside linebacker until eventually settling into a prominent role on special teams.

His leadership as a special teams captain, combined with his on- and off-field contributions, earned him a selection to the 2012 Pro Bowl.

When the time came for Alexander and the Redskins to re-negotiate his free agency, the team was in a tight spot financially, with an $18 million salary cap penalty assessed by the NFL for the 2013 season payroll.

Alexander shared his disappointment in the manner in which the team was handling his potential new contract, as reported by the all-sports Washington, D.C. radio station 106.7 The Fan on March 13.

“I was ready to sign back with the Redskins on Monday night, but it wound up not being close at all,” Alexander said. “They were offering $2.6 [million guaranteed] with an overall contract of $7.5 million over three years. The next day, they called back and said they would only guarantee $1.4 [million] of that. Dropping more than a million dollars overnight without any reason, I couldn’t take that money out of my kids’ mouths. Based on everything I’ve done [for] this organization, doing everything the right way, it was just a bad way to treat me. “I understand the business, but, . . . it didn’t sit right at all with me.” 

According to the same article, a Redskins spokesman said Alexander’s “statement is not true.”

Alexander was, and still is, very well respected by teammates, and many shared their disappointment with his departure from the organization via Twitter, including Redskins starting inside linebacker Perry Riley.

@onemangang97 Sad to see you go bro. Wish you nothing but the best in Az. Thanks for everything

— Perry Riley (@PR56) March 13, 2013

While Alexander is no longer a part of the Washington Redskins organization, he was and is an integral part of the community that will continue to see Alexander and his charity involved in events around the Washington, D.C. area.

It may be a bit over-dramatic to say he leaves behind a legacy, but he certainly has left a lasting impression upon fans, teammates and sports writers alike.


Follow on Twitter @JohnBibb and view previous Bleacher Report articles I have written on the Washington Redskins here.