The San Francisco 49ers are trading linebacker Kwon Alexander to the New Orleans Saints, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Niners will receive a conditional fifth-round pick and linebacker Kiko Alonso in exchange for Alexander.
“49ers are acquiring a conditional 5th-round pick and likely a player in exchange for LB Kwon Alexander, per source,” Schefter noted on Twitter.
The 49ers cap situation is among the worst in the NFL and trading Alexander will help provide some relief in the coming years. Alexander has a $4.57 cap hit for this season, but this jumps up to $16.5 million in 2021, per Spotrac. The linebacker still has two years remaining on his four-year, $54 million contract.
Alonso Has Not Played a Game in 2020
Alonso has been on injured reserve as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. The linebacker started four games for the Saints last season notching 31 tackles in 13 appearances.
Alexander has not played for the 49ers since Week 5 as he has been sidelined with an ankle injury. The linebacker notched 30 tackles and a sack so far this season but his short stint in San Francisco failed to live up to expectations as he struggled to stay on the field.
The 49ers Are Not Expected to Be Buyers at the Trade Deadline
The Niners have made a valiant effort to remain in the hunt in the NFC West, but 49ers general manager John Lynch indicated the team is not expected to make any major moves before the trade deadline. We could see another similar deal for the 49ers in moving seldom-used receiver Dante Pettis who Kyle Shanahan has been open about the team putting on the trade block.
“I don’t anticipate, right now, anything big like the Emmanuel Sanders deal last year,” Lynch said on KNBR, per NinersNation.com. “And yes, that is somewhat because we’re restricted (by the cap). We’ve also used 70 players, I think, on our active roster this year, so you come in with the salary cap, but then you eat into that. And then, you’ve also got to understand everything we do this year affects next year, where, because of the pandemic, the cap’s going to be way down. I think it’s forcing everyone, particularly the teams that are pressing that cap, to be very guarded in what they do.”
Shanahan on Alexander: ‘Kwon Is Ride or Die in Everything He Does for This Football Team’
Alexander may not have found the Pro Bowl consistency he showed with the Buccaneers, but the linebacker played a role in the 49ers Super Bowl run last season. During the playoffs, Shanahan spoke about Alexander’s impact both on the field and in the locker room.
“It’s extremely real with Kwon,” Shanahan said, per 49ersWebZone.com. “He’s like that every second, and our guys gravitate to him. I think just the same way fans feel about him, that’s how we feel about him. Kwon is ride or die in everything he does for this football team. He will go out there, he plays that way when he’s healthy, he plays that way when he’s hurt. He talks that way. He lives football. That’s why his football character is one of the highest I’ve been around. That’s just his character as a man, to me, is just that way too.”
It was likely a difficult decision to trade Alexander, but the 49ers face an uphill battle to make the playoffs this season given the mounting injuries. The move gives the Niners a bit more financial flexibility heading into next season in what is expected to be a shrinking salary cap.
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