The Buffalo Bills needed some help at inside linebacker, and now it appears that they got just that, as they've reportedly signed Brandon Spikes.
John Wawrow from the Associated Press tweeted that the 26-year-old linebacker had agreed to a deal with the Bills:
Person familiar with talks has confirmed to AP that LB Brandon Spikes has agreed to deal with #Bills.— John Wawrow (@john_wawrow) March 15, 2014
Adam Schefter of ESPN confirmed the deal:
Former Patriots LB Brandon Spikes signed a one-year, $3.25M deal with Buffalo, per source. Spikes' agreement first reported by @john_wawrow— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2014
Spkes spoke about the move:
Spikes is coming off of his first season where he played in all 16 games, finishing with 86 tackles and an interception. During his four years in New England, Spikes had 286 combined tackles, one sack and five forced fumbles, all of which came in 2012.
The move makes a ton of sense for the Bills, as they struggled defending the run. In 2013, they gave up 128.9 rushing yards per game, ranking 28th in the league. Spikes is known best for being able to plug up rushing lanes, as Pro Football Focus (subscription required) had him as the top-graded inside linebacker in run defense and sixth-best overall.
Spikes will likely be lining up alongside Kiko Alonso in the middle of the defense in 2014, giving the Bills one of the better inside linebacker duos in the league. Alonso had a breakout rookie year in 2013, grabbing 159 combined tackles, four interceptions, two sacks and one forced fumble.
The Bills have made sure to continue to add key players to the middle of the defense, as they also brought in former New York Giants linebacker Keith Rivers. According to ESPN's James Walker, Rivers' deal is for two years and is worth $5 million:
Filed to ESPN: Free-agent LB Keith Rivers has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Buffalo #Bills.— James Walker (@JamesWalkerNFL) March 12, 2014
By signing Spikes, the Bills appear to be set at linebacker for next season, and their run defense should look a lot better in 2014.