The good news for injured Buccaneers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander is that his progress off of a torn ACL last October appears to be going well. The bad news is: Alexander is slated to be an unrestricted free agent and there’s no indication yet, that the team we’ll make a strong move to keep him around.
First, Alexander took to social media Tuesday night to show his progress off the knee injury– albeit in a weight room:
Yeaaaa we back forreal now let’s go! First day Squating! Week 11🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/xlMosQv03Y
— Kwon Alexander (@kwon) January 30, 2019
It’s still impressive to see the former LSU Tiger being able to work out on the injured knee after only four months and advance of when the Buccaneers will have to make a decision on re-signing him.
Alexander was injured in the week seven overtime win at home against Cleveland, suffering the torn left ACL in a first half in which he had already made seven tackles. It was such a deflating injury that day, that had Alexander in tears in the locker room at halftime urging his teammates to battle on against the Browns and for the rest of the season without him.
Alexander had blossomed in his second season for Tampa Bay with 108 solo tackles 12 of them for losses a forced fumble and interception. The following year in 2017 he had 70 more solo tackles seven for losses with three interceptions and was named to his first Pro Bowl team.
Now though comes the dark side of the NFL. The business side.
And, Alexander’s injury could not come at a worse time for his free agency value. Granted, he $1.9 million in his fourth and final year of his rookie deal as a former fourth round draft pick.
Alexander is represented by prominent flamboyant South Florida agent Drew Rosenhaus. But even as much as Rosenhaus can sell and promote his clients, he can’t almost certainly won’t be able to talk the Bucs or anyone else, into giving Alexander $10 million dollars a year.
That’s the current average of what the top 5 inside linebackers in the NFL make. Those include the Panthers Luke Kuechly at $12.3 million annually, Seattle’s Bobby Wagner $10.7 million and new Giants star Alec Ogletree $10.6 million are the top three.
Another factor is at the Bucs have a new coaching staff led by Bruce Arians and new defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles. So, therefore, there’s no specific loyalty to Alexander, who’s never played for them.
There would be sentiment to keep him from GM Jason Licht and his staff, who discovered Alexander as a middle round gem in the 20 15 draft.
The advantage for the Bucs, just like any other team trying to re-sign their own players, is that they have up until March to offer him something significant. And, they might very well look to get Alexander a large signing bonus or guarantee, in exchange for the contract not having as high an annual average.
Will he go for that? Don’t gamble that Rosenhaus will allow into accepted rather than be an unrestricted free agent and test the market.
And you have to believe the Bucs are ready for that to happen, because they’re banking that no one’s going to put huge money, including a huge annual average (like $10 million or more) in front of a guy who is coming off a serious injury. This is especially, when Alexander still has question marks about whether he would be the same linebacker or not.
In the meantime, Alexander continues to work out and hope that he remains in Tampa Bay. Time will tell how much the new staff likes him and at what price?
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