In an expected move, the New Orleans Saints will release linebacker Kwon Alexander in another salary cap-related move, as first reported by the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport Wednesday morning. The move will create over $13.2 million in cap space for the team, as they try to create room for additional free agent signings.
Alexander would then be free to negotiate with any team. New Orleans could still bring Alexander back at a lower salary, a move where reportedly both parties seem interested.
Alexander entered the NFL as a 4th round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2015 draft out of LSU. He played his first four seasons with the Buccaneers, earning a Pro Bowl berth in 2017, quickly emerging as a team leader.
In four years with Tampa Bay, he had 7 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions, 8 fumbles either forced or recovered, and was credited with 22 passes broken up. Among the league's leading tacklers over his first three years, Alexander led the NFL with 108 solo tackles in 2016.
Alexander joined the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent in 2019. Injuries limited him to just 8 regular season games that season, but he returned in time for the postseason to help the 49ers to a berth in Super Bowl LIV. A shoulder injury limited his effectiveness at the start of the 2020 season and kept him out of action for three contests.
A mid-season trade with San Francisco brought the 26-Yr old Alexander to New Orleans last season. He stepped into the starting lineup immediately and teamed with LB Demario Davis to give the Saints one of the league's most versatile and athletic tandem of linebackers.
In seven games with New Orleans, Alexander broke up 4 passes, forced one fumble, recovered 2 fumbles, and had 27 tackles. He helped elevate the team's defense to elite status.
An Achilles injury suffered in a Christmas Day victory over Minnesota knocked Alexander from the playoff run and leaves his status for the start of 2021 in doubt. When healthy, Alexander has tremendous athleticism and instincts and is equally effective against the run or in pass coverage. He could return to New Orleans on a reduced salary.