Alex Singleton is accustomed to producing in the NFL at this point.
After all, he’s logged three straight seasons with 120 or more tackles between Philadelphia (120 in 2020, 137 in 2021) and Denver (163 last year).
Even still, he enters training camp later this month in a new position altogether.
Singleton’s got security (job and financial) for maybe the first true time in his eight-year professional career.
Denver general manager George Paton called the 29-year-old linebacker “a baller” at the NFL Scouting Combine in February and then made sure he returned to the Broncos a couple of weeks later by giving him a three-year deal worth up to $18 million ($9 million guaranteed) that came with a $4 million signing bonus.
“I didn’t really know. I talked obviously with Sean (Payton) and George and them that week before, but it was kind of in limbo that week before,” Singleton said during Denver’s offseason program. “They said they were all in, so that’s kind of when I was like, ‘OK cool.’ …
“They did it pretty quick on the first day. I was stressed because it took eight years and I’m used to, you know, getting screwed kind of. It was nice to not have that happen this year.”
Though the bonus alone outpaces what Spotrac pegs as Singleton’s career earnings up until this spring, he shrugged off the money and the negotiations that preceded the deal — “where other linebackers in the league are, it was the right spot,” he said.
The commitment, though, clearly meant a lot.
“It’s what you play for,” Singleton said. “It took me eight years to get that, so it feels good. But the job’s not over. Now it’s kind of, ‘don’t screw it up.’ That’s how I’m taking it. Keep doing the same things I’ve done for all these years and keep doing the work.”
The Thousand Oaks, California native went undrafted out of Montana State in 2015, then bounced between camps and practice squads in Seattle, New England and Minnesota. He got picked sixth in the 2016 Canadian Football League draft by the Calgary Stampeders and played three seasons there before landing with Philadelphia in 2019. He appeared exclusively on special teams in 10 games that fall and has been a tackling machine ever since.
Whereas a year ago Singleton was seen as a depth piece and special teams contributor, this summer he’ll get extensive repetitions in training camp playing next to presumed starting partner Josey Jewell. They turned themselves into a dynamic tandem in the second half of 2022 on the field — and something like a buddy cop duo off of it — and now are excited about the prospect of more time on the practice field to heighten their chemistry.
“It’s awesome,” Jewell said. “It’ll be fun this year. I’m excited to play beside him again this year and actually get some reps in the preseason … with him as a guy I’m going to play with. It’s going to be fun. It’s been good so far. We can do a wink and a nod and he knows when to go and I know when to switch it, stuff like that. It’s been fun to be able to understand each others brains and when to do things.”
“It’s huge,” Singleton added. “We’re together all the time. Weekends, dinners, just kind of everything. Know what each other are thinking, especially on the field, and it’s easy for us to play off each other. When you’re with a guy — it feels a lot longer than the short time we’ve had together.”
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