The 49ers have agreed to trade linebacker Kwon Alexander to the Saints, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. In exchange, the Saints will send fellow ‘backer Kiko Alonso and a conditional fifth-round pick to San Francisco.
Alexander, 26, has three seasons left on his four-year, $54MM deal. The off-ball ‘backer is remarkably tough – he suffered a torn pectoral muscle in November and somehow managed to return for the Niners’ playoff run. Alexander also battled a biceps injury that required surgery in February. These maladies emerged after he missed much of the 2018 season with an ACL tear.
Those issues predictably dropped his trade value, preventing SF from offloading him over the summer. Now, they’ve found a deal for him, though it mostly amounts to a contract dump.
It’s not too often that you see two guys at the same position swapped. Alexander has once again been banged up in 2020 as he’s missed the past two games with an ankle injury, although that doesn’t seem like anything too long-term.
New Orleans has an elite defensive front but their linebacking group has left a bit to be desired, so this move makes plenty of sense. They lost A.J. Klein in free agency, and offseason acquisition Nigel Bradham didn’t pan out as he was cut before the season began. Alexander has graded out solidly from Pro Football Focus, but not at the level he was playing last year. Demario Davis is locked into his role at inside linebacker for the Saints, so Alexander could cut into Alex Anzalone‘s role.
The 49ers get some salary relief, the draft pick, and a player in Alonso who stared at least 15 games for Miami from 2016-18. Alonso was placed on the reserve/PUP list at the beginning of the year and missed the first six games. New Orleans then activated him, but he has yet to appear in a game this season. These teams play each other in just a couple of weeks, so both players will get their chance at revenge.
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