Lorenzo Alexander leaves the Redskins

The Washington Redskins have worked very hard, in spite of the salary-cap limitations imposed on them by the league's penalty, to keep together the key pieces of the team that went 10-6 and won the NFC East last season. But they knew all along they weren't going to be able to keep everyone, and on Wednesday they lost a player they would have liked to keep. Linebacker and Pro Bowl special teams player Lorenzo Alexander signed with the Arizona Cardinals, according to Fox Sports.

The Redskins could not afford to offer Alexander a contract comparable to what he was going to receive on the open market from teams willing to offer him more of a role on defense than they are. The Redskins valued Alexander as a backup linebacker who can play inside or outside in their 3-4 alignment, and they loved him as a special teams player and a leader on the field and in the locker room. But they had to set priorities in this difficult offseason, and their plans did not allow them room to make a competitive offer to keep Alexander from Arizona.

Alexander spent the past six years with the Redskins, and said in January that finally reaching the playoffs in Washington felt extra special to him because of the difficult seasons he'd endured there along the way. He said earlier in the offseason that he'd be willing to take less to stay with the Redskins, but that they had to be in the ballpark with other offers. It does not appear they were able to get into the proper ballpark.