Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- The Buffalo Bills have made their first free agency move in 2013. The team has announced that they've signed unrestrictred free agent linebacker Manny Lawson on Wednesday.
According to a league source, it's a four-year deal that brings Lawson to the Bills after playing the past two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that the contract is worth $12 million total, and will pay Lawson $7 million over the first two seasons.
At his introductory press conference, Lawson said the Bills made it clear that they wanted him.
"I was really one of the choices that they wanted to go to," Lawson remarked. "That spoke volumes of what I meant to them and therefore as a person, that just really warms the heart. If somebody comes at you and tells you, 'We want you, this is here, we need you here.' Just to hear those words… indescribable."
Still, his raw combination of size and speed has kept him on the field over his seven year career. At 6-foot-5, 240-pounds, the new Bills linebacker will be 29 when the 2013 season begins. In five seasons with the 49ers, Lawson had 14.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.
The signing of Lawson completes the Buffalo triumverate of NC State defensive linemen that were drafted in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. All three men (Lawson, Mario Williams and John McCargo) are currently or have at one time been a member of the organization.
Despite having the obvious connection with the Bills first unrestricted free agent signing of 2012, Lawson said that Mario Williams didn't play a factor in to him signing in Buffalo.
"No we haven't talked yet," he said. "We'll definitely chat it up in a few I'm pretty sure. It's great just to have somebody you actually knew before the NFL came in to our picture. That we had fun together in college, we competed in college, we jawed back and forth. It's good to know that that's still there, and that you know that we actually do get a chance to, I guess you could say, rekindle our college lives."
Lawson will likely slide in to the Bills' starting strongside linebacker role in 4-3 looks, and give them another pass-rushing outside linebacker when in three-man fronts.