Tennessee Titans free agent linebacker Zach Brown has agreed to a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills, per a league source.
Brown was a second-round pick by the Titans in 2012 and Tennessee had high hopes for him after a productive rookie season in which he recorded 5.5 sacks, had 93 total tackles and two defensive touchdowns. Brown then had four sacks and 91 tackles during the 2013 season for the Titans.
However, once Mike Munchak was fired as head coach and replaced by Ken Whisenhunt, things seemed to go south for Brown in Tennessee.
Whisenhunt called him out during the off-season, wanting to see more consistency and better tackling from him. Brown was moved from outside linebacker in the 4-3 to an inside weakside linebacker in the team’s 3-4 system installed by Ray Horton.
Then, in the first quarter of the Titans season opener that year in Kansas City, Brown suffered a torn pectoral muscle, a season-ending injury that required surgery.
Brown returned to the lineup in 2015, but was soon phased out of the starting job and into a more specialized role, with veteran Wesley Woodyard taking over as the primary starter inside along with Avery Williamson.
Brown was mostly relegated to third downs and sub-packages and his role on special teams. His downfall with the Titans may have come in a week three loss to the Colts, where Brown intercepted an Andrew Luck pass and had a clear path to the end zone. Instead, he ran into Derrick Morgan, who was attempting to block for him, and the Titans were only able to muster a field goal out of the turnover. All that was part of a collapse that allowed the Colts to come back and take a 35-33 win, outscoring the Titans 21-6 in the final period as part of that process.
With the Bills, Brown should be able to compete for a starting spot in Rex Ryan’s defense as Buffalo attempts to rebuild a unit that slumped in 2015.