The Seattle Seahawks are considered a “top potential” landing spot for one of the top remaining free agents in the league.
According to a list compiled by Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton, the Seahawks could be a prime landing spot for former Pro Bowl linebacker Kwon Alexander. Alexander most recently spent the 2021 season with the New Orleans Saints and was a 2017 Pro Bowl selection with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, Alexander dealt with serious injuries during the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons, limiting him to just 26 games across those three seasons. During that time frame, Alexander suffered a torn ACL, a torn pectoral and an Achilles tear.
Wharton explains how Alexander could fit in with the Seahawks or his next potential team as a third-down pass-rush specialist, with the possibility of emerging as a starter during training camp.
“The cost of versatile linebackers has risen tremendously over the last few offseasons,” says Wharton. “Alexander could sign an incentive-laden deal and be a difference-maker for units lacking an X-factor at the position. The former Pro Bowler might sign as a third-down specialist, but it won’t be surprising if he elevates quickly throughout training camp into a full-time starter.”
Alexander’s Injuries Have Derailed Promising Career
The 27-year-old Alexander dealt with some nagging injuries during the 2021 season — an elbow injury placed him on injured reserve at one point — but he played in 12 games while posting 50 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one interception.
Prior to injuries, Alexander was one of the top young linebackers in the game.
“Former Tampa Bay, San Francisco and New Orleans linebacker Kwon Alexander has been around since 2015 but will only turn 28 later this offseason,” says Wharton. “Once a promising star after racking up 335 total tackles in his first three seasons, Alexander saw injuries halt his ascension. He suffered a torn ACL in 2018 and then a torn Achilles in December 2020.”
According to Pro Football Focus, the veteran linebacker posted a 53.9 defensive grade and a 57.1 pass-rushing grade last season. Those grades were far from spectacular, but they’re actually not too far off from what Seattle’s projected starting outside linebackers, Jordyn Brooks (58.4 grade) and Cody Barton (59.7 grade) posted last season.
The Seahawks are currently lacking in experience when it comes to their edge rushers. Brooks is just 24 years of age and started his first full season last year. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Barton has started just five games across three seasons in the NFL. He’s also never appeared in more than 189 defensive snaps in a single season.
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Alexander’s Ceiling is Appealing for Seahawks
While Alexander certainly has his faults, one can’t deny his ceiling. The former Pro Bowler once posted pass-rushing grades of 71.9 in 2017 and 78.8 in 2018 as a member of the Buccaneers. For perspective, Alexander ranked 21st in 2017 and 11th in 2018 in pass-rushing grade among all players at his position (with at least 100 snaps).
His recent injury history — four consecutive seasons with significant injuries — are a cause for concern. But that’s the reason why Alexander is a free agent heading into the month of July.
As Wharton mentions, Alexander could sign an incentive-laden deal with the Seahawks. In other words, he’s a low-risk, high-reward signing. At just 27 years of age and possessing top-tier pass-rushing ability for a linebacker, Alexander could fill a major void for the Seahawks considering their lack of experience when it pertains to their linebacker unit.