Kwon Alexander

Jets Still Eyeing Kwon Alexander

The Jets’ defense has undergone plenty of changes this offseason, but the unit could see a few other additions in the near future. One free agent the team is still keeping tabs on is linebacker Kwon Alexander

According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, the Jets are still “interested” in the veteran. This isn’t the first time the two parties have been connected, meaning that New York eyeing Alexander even after the draft comes as little surprise.

The Jets hosted Alexander on a visit in mid-April, signalling the potential that they could add him to their linebacking corps. The 27-year-old was at his best with his initial team, the Buccaneers. It was in Tampa Bay in 2017 that he was named a Pro Bowler for the first and only time in his career.

That led to plenty of optimism when he joined the 49ers on a big-money deal. The LSU product wasn’t able to live up to the expectations that came with that deal, however, and he only suited up for 13 contests in San Francisco. Most recently, he was in New Orleans after the Saints traded for him. Registering eight starts in 12 games this past campaign, he totalled 50 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

That obviously wasn’t enough to earn him a deal in the initial waves of free agency, but it generated at least some interest from the Jets. If he were to end up in the Big Apple, he would once again play under Robert Saleh, and add a veteran presence to the team’s LB room. New York has C.J. Mosley on a lucrative contract; he would currently project as a starter alongside Quincy Williams – who is heading into a contract year. Other, younger, options remain slated for rotational roles after the team elected not to draft another option.

Kwon Alexander Visiting Jets

The Jets are in line to make significant additions to their roster next week in the draft. They are still keeping tabs on the free agent market, though, as they are hosting veteran linebacker Kwon Alexander today (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). 

Alexander, 27, has been in the NFL for seven years. He had a highly productive start to his career in Tampa Bay after they drafted him in the fourth round. In four seasons there, he totalled 380 tackles, seven sacks and six interceptions. In 2017, he earned his lone Pro Bowl nod.

His tenure with the Buccaneers came to an end after his rookie contract expired, though. He signed a four-year, $54MM deal with the 49ers in 2019. With injuries becoming a problem, however, his time in San Francisco was limited to just 13 games. It did, on the other hand, give Alexander a chance to play under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who is now head coach of the Jets.

The LSU product was traded to New Orleans in the middle of the 2020 season, as the 49ers offloaded the lucrative contract they had signed him to just one year earlier. Alexander helped fill one of the lone roster holes on a strong Saints defense, starting all seven games he played in. That convinced the team to bring him back (after cutting him in the offseason to save cap space), and he registered 50 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2021.

In New York, Alexander would not only reunite with Saleh, but add experience to the team’s LB corps. The Jets have C.J. Mosley at the top of the depth chart, along with Quincy Williams (who is a free agent next season) and a number of younger options. Signing Alexander would add a starting-caliber player in the middle of a defense looking to improve across the board from its 2021 performance.

Inside Linebacker Market

There are many inside linebackers waiting patiently on the open market. A wild first week of free agency has come and gone with other positions seeing record deals and big names moving. The market for inside linebackers, however, has been quiet and less than lucrative.

In years past, we’ve seen monster deals to players like C.J. Mosley, whose contract has an average annual value of $17MM and guaranteed him $43MM at signing, and Darius Leonard, whose contract has an average annual value of $19.7MM and guaranteed him $33MM at signing. The largest payout we’ve seen this offseason to an inside linebacker was when the Packers kept De’Vondre Campbell from entering free agency with a five-year, $50MM deal, with a guaranteed $15MM. It’s certainly an impressive deal, and one the esteemed linebacker deserves, but no other deals have come close.

After being cut by the Jaguars, Myles Jack signed a two-year, $16MM deal to become a Steeler. Josey Jewell remained with the Broncos after signing a two-year, $11MM deal. Minnesota’s new inside linebacker, Jordan Hicks, joined the Vikings on a two-year, $10MM contract. Christian Kirksey signed a similar deal to remain with the Texans. We’ve seen a few other small deals like Zaire Franklin signing a three-year, $10MM deal to remain in Indianapolis and Alex Anzalone signing a one-year, $2.25MM contract to play another year with the Lions.

While that may sound pretty active, there are many big names who have yet to find deals. The biggest of these names is Bobby Wagner. Cut after ten outstanding years in Seattle, Wagner was expected to be a highly sought after free agent. While there have been many teams who’ve voiced interest in the eight-time All-Pro, there has been no word of negotiations. Any deal Wagner signs will likely top the numbers posed by Campbell and the Packers, but the fact that he has yet to find a home may hint at the fact that the money he’s looking for isn’t being offered.

There are many other impact names on the open market: Kwon Alexander, Jayon Brown, Jarrad Davis, Dont’a Hightower, Anthony Hitchens, Nick Kwiatkoski, Reggie Ragland, Joe Schobert, and Danny Trevathan.

Due to the low spending we’ve seen thus far and the plethora of names available, these players will likely have to search for the right fit and accept a decent deal if offered. They may end up having to wait until injuries provide an opportunity for them to fill in on a roster. The exception, of course, is Wagner, who can afford to be patient. Wagner will have the luxury of being able to wait and see how rosters form throughout the league, biding his time until he’s sure he’s joining a contender. Look for the others to give up on looking for a lucrative payday and settle for decent deals from teams with schemes they like.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Saints Shuffle Roster, Activate Three Players From IR

The Saints are welcoming back three players for tonight’s game against the Seahawks. Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football reports (via Twitter) that New Orleans is activating linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive end Marcus Davenport, and wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith from IR. The three players returned to practice last week, and they’ll all be eligible to play tonight.

The Saints also promoted wideout Kevin White from the practice squad. To make room on the roster, the team released center Will Clapp and defensive tackle Albert Huggins (via Underhill on Twitter).

Alexander (elbow) and Davenport (shoulder) were both placed on IR in mid-September, while Smith (hamstring) landed on IR a bit earlier than that. The Saints moved Davenport back into their starting lineup to start this season, and he registered a sack and two QB hits in the Saints’ dominant Week 1 win over the Packers. Alexander worked his way back from a December Achilles tear to be ready in time for the Saints’ opener, but this latest injury continued a rough run of health for the former Buccaneers standout. Smith’s injury dogged him for several weeks, as he tried and failed to come back from it twice. It caused the former third-round pick to miss extensive training camp time.

White joined the Saints back in August, and he later landed on the team’s practice squad. The former first-round pick got into three games with the 49ers in 2020, but he only saw nine snaps on offense. Clapp was a seventh-round pick by the Saints in 2018, and he got into 27 games (four starts) through three-plus seasons with the team. Huggins has bounced around the NFL since going undrafted in 2019. He saw time in four games (one start) for the Saints this season, collecting seven tackles and two QB hits.

Saints Designate LB Kwon Alexander, DE Marcus Davenport, WR Tre’Quan Smith For Return

The Saints are about to get some reinforcement. The team designated linebacker Kwon Alexander, defensive end Marcus Davenport, and wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith for return from injured reserve today, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter).

Alexander (elbow) and Davenport (shoulder) were both placed on IR in mid-September, meaning the earliest they could have returned was Week 5.

The Saints moved Davenport back into their starting lineup to start this season, providing the player with an opportunity to re-establish himself opposite Cameron Jordan. Davenport registered a sack and two QB hits in the Saints’ dominant Week 1 win over the Packers.

Alexander worked his way back from a December Achilles tear to be ready in time for the Saints’ opener, but this latest injury continued a rough run of health for the former Buccaneers standout. Alexander suffered a torn ACL in 2018, though he still landed a nice contract from the 49ers. However, the veteran linebacker sustained a pectoral muscle tear in his first 49ers season.

Smith landed on IR a bit earlier than his defensive teammates after suffering a hamstring injury. The injury dogged Smith for several weeks, as he tried and failed to come back from it twice. It caused the former third-round pick to miss extensive training camp time.

While the Saints will happily welcome back this trio, they’ll still be without one of the most notable players. While wideout Michael Thomas was eligible to return from PUP this week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport notes (via Twitter) that there hasn’t been any news on his potential activation.

Saints Place Marcus Davenport, Kwon Alexander On IR

Two Saints defensive starters will be sidelined until at least October. The Saints are placing Marcus Davenport and Kwon Alexander on IR, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Neither Davenport nor Alexander practiced this week due to shoulder and elbow injuries, respectively. They will not be able to return until New Orleans’ Week 5 game.

While Davenport was believed to have suffered a pectoral muscle strain in Week 1, the Saints listed the fourth-year defensive end on their injury report with a shoulder ailment. Davenport’s injury is not expected to keep him out especially long, but the Saints will nevertheless save a roster spot by moving him to IR.

The Saints moved Davenport back into their starting lineup to start this season, after having let Trey Hendrickson walk in free agency. Hendrickson signed with the Bengals, leaving Davenport an opportunity to re-establish himself opposite Cameron Jordan. Davenport registered a sack and two QB hits in the Saints’ dominant Week 1 win over the Packers. The Saints picked up Davenport’s fifth-year option in May.

Alexander worked his way back from a December Achilles tear to be ready in time for the Saints’ opener, but this continues a rough run of health for the former Buccaneers standout. Alexander suffered a torn ACL in 2018, though he still landed a nice contract from the 49ers. However, the veteran linebacker sustained a pectoral muscle tear in his first 49ers season. Alexander’s latest malady stands to increase second-year linebacker Zack Baun‘s workload, The Athletic’s Larry Holder tweets. The 2020 third-round pick played 23 defensive snaps in the team’s opener.

Contract Details: Allen, Alexander, McCoy, Barkley

Let’s catch up on the details of some of the high-profile contracts given out recently:

  • Josh Allen grabbed all the headlines by inking his mega-extension with the Bills. In an interesting piece, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com breaks down how it compares to the huge deal Patrick Mahomes recently signed with the Chiefs. For starters, Allen got a $16.5MM signing bonus, while Mahomes only got $10MM. Further, “the early cash flow for Allen is vastly superior to the Mahomes contract,” Florio writes. That’s because Mahomes’ deal is more back-loaded, while Allen is for example due $47MM in the second year of the pact. Mahomes’ contract is still worth more annually, but only because of the extra years at the end that his has. Through the first eight seasons of their respective deals, the compensation is nearly identical. Allen will clear $284.55MM through eight years, while Mahomes will get $285.33MM through the first eight years of his.
  • Last week the Saints agreed to terms on a one-year deal with linebacker Kwon Alexander, and now we have all the financials. We heard at the time it was worth “up to” $3MM. It turns out to have a base value of only $1.127MM, not too much above the minimum for a player with his service time, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football tweets. He got $387.5K in guaranteed money. Alexander will get another $200K if he plays 50% of the snaps in 13 games, another $300K for 15 games, and another $400K for 17 games. He also has another $972K in other unspecified playing time incentives. New Orleans cut him back in March to save $13MM in cap space, so even if Alexander hits all his incentives he’ll have taken a fairly hefty pay-cut. That’s unfortunately what happens when you’re coming off an Achilles tear like Alexander is. He started all seven games that he played for the Saints last year before going down.
  • Alexander wasn’t the only big name defensive player to sign last week, as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy also latched on with the Raiders. His one-year deal with Las Vegas is worth up to $2MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. He got a signing bonus of $150K and also has incentives worth $750K. The six-time Pro Bowler missed all of 2020 with a torn quad. Once one of the best interior linemen in the league, he turned 33 back in February.
  • Matt Barkley resurfaced with the Titans to give them some insurance behind Ryan Tannehill, and he got $1.1MM on a one-year deal, Rapoport notes in the same tweet. Rapsheet didn’t specify, but it seems unlikely that much if any of it was guaranteed. Tennessee apparently wasn’t happy with only having Logan Woodside behind Tannehill. Shortly after signing Barkley, they released Deshone Kizer. Woodside and Barkley will now battle it out for clipboard-holding duties.

Saints Sign LB Kwon Alexander

Kwon Alexander is heading back to New Orleans after all. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the free agent linebacker has agreed to a one-year deal with the Saints. The deal is worth up to $3MM.

The veteran was released by the Saints back in March, but the move was mostly financially motivated. By cutting Alexander, the organization saved $13MM at the time. Considering the discount they got on the latest pact, this was clearly a wise move by the organization. Back in March, some suspected that the team may have also been wary of the player’s Achilles injury, which ended his season early. However, we learned last month that Alexander had already been cleared to resume football activities.

Alexander was shipped from San Francisco to New Orleans in November, and he ultimately collected 27 stops, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in seven games with his new squad. A torn ACL and a torn pectoral muscle limited Alexander to only 14 games between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and he only appeared in 12 total games last season. It’s been five seasons since Alexander appeared in all 16 games, and it’s been four seasons since he made a Pro Bowl. Still, he’ll only be 27 by the start of next season, and the Saints were apparently more than happy to take a shot at the player’s upside.

The 27-year-old will still have to battle for reps, of course. The Saints are pretty deep at linebacker; behind projected starters Zack Baun, Demario Davis, and Pete Werner, the team is rostering the likes of Kaden Elliss, Wynton McManis, Andrew Dowell, Chase Hansen, Shaq Smith, and Sutton Smith.

LB Kwon Alexander Visiting Saints

Kwon Alexander could end up rejoining the Saints. The free agent linebacker is set to visit with his former team today, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The 26-year-old also has a handful of unidentified suitors, according to the report.

Following a half-year stint with the organization, Alexander was released by the Saints back in March. The move was mostly financial, as the transaction helped the team free up $13MM. Now, the Saints could be pushing for an affordable reunion with the linebacker.

Alexander was shipped from San Francisco to New Orleans in November, and he ultimately collected 27 stops, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in seven games with his new squad. A torn Achilles ended his season early, but Schefter notes that the defender has been cleared and is ready to resume football drills.

A torn ACL and a torn pectoral muscle limited Alexander to only 14 games between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and he only appeared in 12 total games last season. It’s been five seasons since Alexander appeared in all 16 games, and it’s been four seasons since he made a Pro Bowl. Still, he’ll only be 27 by the start of next season, and plenty of teams would be willing to take a gamble on his talent. It sounds like the Saints will be first in line for his services.