Ex-$54 Million 49ers Defender Sparks Intrigue, Teases Next Potential Spot


Getty The 49ers linebacker unit during Super Bowl week on January 29, 2020 in Coral Gables, Florida.

Kwon Alexander has gone from 2017 Pro Bowler, to $54 million linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers all the way to a free agent still searching for his next home.

The inside linebacker, though, could be nearing the finish line of his free agency period as he’s meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the evening of Monday, May 15 with ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter the first to report. And Alexander took to Twitter with this tease:

That simple emoji, though, was enough to get Steeler fans to chime in.

“Do it,” one fan said in a gif directed toward Alexander.

“U signing with us bro??” another fan asked.

Another fan responded in gif form: a Jack Nicholson nodding one.

Did Alexander Struggle With Ex-49er?

Alexander was last seen with the New York Jets — who have their share of past 49ers representatives.

But one in particular happened to be his former defensive coordinator with the Niners in Robert Saleh, his head coach with the Jets.

The 6-foot-1, 227-pounder managed to start in 12 games while playing in all 17 contests. Alexander would go on to collect 69 total tackles including 42 solo — both numbers representing his best marks since his Pro Bowl campaign while with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He additionally added six tackles behind the line of scrimmage and one forced fumble.

Alexander proved to be effective under Saleh when called upon. His Jets production with Saleh was better than his 2019 season when they were together on the 49ers — also their NFC title winning season.

Alexander, though, has had difficulty with staying healthy. In 2021, he suffered a torn Achilles which forced him out of the remaining five weeks of the season. He also had a high ankle sprain in the 2020 season. He even had a previous ACL injury (grade 3 tear) in the 2018 season.

Alexander ended up starting in 13 total games for the 49ers from 2019 to 2020. He was a midseason trade to the New Orleans Saints in the latter year. His only full season with the Niners witnessed 34 total tackles and 22 solo stops.

If he were to sign with the Steelers, Alexander would join offensive guard Nate Herbig in Pittsburgh as former Jets who ended up win the Steel City. But there’s the belief that if Alexander heads to the Steelers and plays for Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Tomlin, he becomes the fastest linebacker for that defense.

49ers LB Unit Given High Grade

Meanwhile, regarding the unit Alexander ended up defecting from in the ’20 season, the 49ers were given a high grade by ESPN’s Mike Clay in his preseason projections.

Clay handed the Niners a grade of 4.0 for their LB unit — which is the highest grade among the position groups for the defensive side of the football. The other position group given a 4.0 on the 49ers were the running backs.

The lowest graded unit for S.F. was the offensive line, given a 1.0 grade. More stunning is that the quarterback and cornerback rooms were each given 1.1 grades. The latter grade placed the 49ers as the 24th ranked CB unit. Among NFC West teams, the 49ers were second-worst (the rival Los Angeles Rams were ranked 32nd at CB by Clay).

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