Grading the 49ers’ signing of LB Kwon Alexander

Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) injured during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

The 49ers just made a terrible mistake.

They agreed to terms with free-agent linebacker Kwon Alexander, and reportedly will pay him $54 million over the next four years ($13.5 million per season on average). Alexander will earn $27 million guaranteed — tied for the most guaranteed money among inside linebackers with All Pro Luke Kuechly. Alexander now is the second-highest-paid player on the 49ers in terms of average annual money after Jimmy Garoppolo.

Alexander, 24, is a former fourth-round pick who played the first four seasons of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and missed lots of tackles. Then, on Oct. 22, 2018, Alexander tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season. Meaning three of the 49ers top-five highest-paid players in terms of average annual money (Alexander, Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garopplo) currently are rehabbing ACL tears.

I thought the 49ers wanted to get healthier?

This seems like a move Trent Baalke would make. But, he never would pay $27 million guaranteed for any linebacker he didn’t draft. This move is pure John Lynch.


This article has 470 Comments

    1. Have you ever noticed, just sitting there contemplating life, that some of yours is more solid than at other times. Doesn’t change what it is, though.

      Have to agree with Grant that this was a terrible decision, and really has to make one wonder about John Lynch’s cognitive capacity…

      1. We know the initial numbers for Alexander’s contract in guaranteed money, but the additional structural details are unknown. 49ers contract specialist Paraag Marathe has continually incentivized contracts to protect the team in case the player disappoints or doesn’t stay healthy. Until all the details are released, I’m holding off judgement.

        As for the player. He’s a heck of an ILB. His 21 tackles VS the Cowboys in late 2016 were the most in a game since 2012. It’s worth noting that Tampa’s run defense regressed considerably after Alexander tore his ACL last year. He was a big part of that defense. Bucs TE – Cameron Brate, said this after Kwon’s ACL injury: “For us, as a team, losing someone like Kwon hurts! He’s kind of the heart and soul of our team. Just the kind of passion he brings every day. You know, we’re going to miss that a lot.”

        Anytime you hear a player described as the heart and soul of a football team, that’s a big deal in my book! Alexander is the quintessential team leader, and his HC’s have singled him out for his hard work ethic more than once.

        As for the market, record contracts are continually redefined as the salary cap expands each year. Free agent linebackers C.J. Mosley and Anthony Barr, who have both made the last four Pro Bowls, will demand even heftier price tags than Alexander, you can bet on that! The 49ers jumped the market for a player who they felt was their best option, albeit, coming off of an ACL, and their proactive approach probably saved themselves some money over the long haul.

        It absolutely makes sense that the 49ers addressed ILB in free agency. The 2019 draft class is particularly weak at the position. After LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush, the talent drops off. It’s unlikely that either player will drop to the 49ers at No. 36 overall, and using the No. 2 overall pick on a linebacker was never a serious option either.

        Assuming Alexander is ready for camp, my early grade is a B+, subject to change upon further contract details. A great young Pro-Bowl ILB, hard working, and studious, a great fit alongside Fred Warner. The 49ers can now check ILB off of their list of needs.

          1. Thanks Grant. I figured I had to counterbalance the picture you used of Alexander spread out, grasping at his knee. You know that the picture you posted will likely not be the picture that defines his career moving forward, right? I get that you don’t particularly like paying a premium for a guy coming off an ACL tear but, things have changed with free agents coming off of torn ACL’s. It’s not like it was a few years ago, when players coming off of these injuries were inclined to sign one year prove it deals. The market has changed. That’s one reason I absolutely dissagree with your F grade. Funny thing is, I remember how much you hated the Richard Sherman signing last year, as you told us how hard it was going to be for him to come back strong from his torn achilles, an injury which BTW, is much harder to come back from than a torn ACL. And I remember you posting videos of Uncle Sherms during training camp, and constantly talked about how old and slow he looked. How has that worked out so far Grant?.

            I know you made the point that “Alexander will earn $27 million guaranteed — tied for the most guaranteed money among inside linebackers with All Pro Luke Kuechly”, but have you even seen exactly how Alexander’s contract is structured? How can you put a firm grade on a transaction before you know all of the details of the deal? I guarantee you that both CJ Mosley and Anthony Barr, will end up with considerably more money than the 49ers paid for Alexander. And let’s get one thing straight …. players come back from ACL tears at a very high rate, some even better than ever, especially at his young age. Is it a risk? Sure, but is it a big risk? Players are always at risk to injury, every time they step on the field, it’s a violent sport! Is it a risk that could pay off in a big way for this young defense? Absolutely! In fact, one of Alexander’s appeals is his age. He doesn’t turn 25 until August, so he is actually younger than Reuben Foster, who turns 25 next month.

            And his athleticism? Oh yah! Alexander ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 combine ranking in the 88th percentile among linebackers. He’s in the mold of the smaller, highly athletic ILB which are currently in vogue in today’s NFL. His frame is similar to Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith, only Kwon is about 11-12 lbs heavier, and Smith developed into one of the best WILL linebackers in the NFL under his former position coach Robert Saleh, who’s now the 49ers’ defensive coordinator. Telvin ran a similarly fast 4.52 in the 40 at 11 lbs lighter than Kwon.

            I think it’s funny that fans were all “the 49ers better not be cheap during this year’s free agency” and then ShanaLynch go out and aggressively sign one of the best FA’s available at a position of need, and those same fans find a way to complain about it.

            1. “I get that you don’t particularly like paying a premium for a guy coming off an ACL tear but, things have changed with free agents coming off of torn ACL’s.”

              Trent? Is that you?

              The 49ers always overspend on second-tier positions. They did that last year with center Weston Richburg and running back Jerick McKinnnon. And they did it the year before with fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

              1. Look, they didn’t want to put themselves in a long term salary cap bind while rebuilding their roster, so they’ve been strategic in their approach, front loading contracts while they have the money to spend, while maintaining cap flexibility moving forward. There aren’t a lot of NFL teams with a freshly inked franchise QB’s, who still have money to burn like the Niners do. As long as they put a winning team on the football field this year, and continue to upgrade their roster while maintaining future cap flexibility, it’s all good as far as I am concerned.

              2. Is overspending for second-tier positions the best way to rebuild? Seems like you end up with a team full of mid-tier players.

          2. I normally agree with you. But not here. In 2016 look at his numbers. He is a better athlete than Mosely and Barr. Tampa’s run d took a huge hit when he got hurt. And guess what he does that our whole team doesn’t….. Cause turnovers. Not to mention 6.2 a year garenteed. With an out year after year 2. Tampa’s fans aren’t happy he’s gone.

        1. You should have written this article. Your comment was more detailed and nuanced an analysis of this trade than even cake close in the article.

          1. Its well put together but about 75% of it is lifted from another article I just read.
            Still fair points tho

        2. Well said 49 reasons. I believe his youth, determination to get back on the field and the fact that he will tackle the SH*** out of the opposition are plus signs. I hope Cohen eats his words!

    2. Grant you love being an ass-that pic dude.
      No wonder Kyle gets pissy at you.
      I want to watch the press conferences this year. Hoping for lots of snarky stares.
      Lynch needs a Dee Ford or Odell to make this FA PERIOD not a total disaster.
      This team needs to make playoffs next year and have one hell of a draft or bye bye John.

  1. He still has to pass a physical. And we don’t exactly know how the contract is structured. Paraag has worked wonders in that regard before. I’ll reserve judgment for now.

  2. Alexander The Great! King Darius the third defeated fled Persia. The Scythians fell by the river Jaxartes. Then Egypt fell to the Macedon King as well, and he founded the city called Alexandria….

      1. The freeway is jammed and it’s backed up for miles
        This car is an oven and baking is wild
        Nothing is ever the way it should be
        What we deserve we don’t get, you see
        A briefcase, a lunch, and a man on the edge
        Each step he’s closer to losing his head
        Is someone in heaven? Are they looking down?
        Nothing is fair, you look around
        Falling down
        Falling down
        Falling down

        1. Idiot. Your googling a word someone says and then posting lyrics that match said word is just stupid. Trying too hard.

            1. Come on guys. You don’t like to mix football and politics. Or have you forgotten? Or all OK only if it’s your politics you mix in?

              1. Hey Ribico, how much longer before Mueller shows us the goods he’s got on President Trump?

              2. So you’re the guy all the other guys come to meet in the bafroom?

                Your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, eh Razor?

              3. Dude, you think the longer it’s taking the better it’s going to be for him? Lol. And it’s not just Mueller. SDNY, NY state, NYC district attorney, Congress … they are all coming for your cult leader and his clan of traitor tots. The Seb-like narcissist toddler who whines “look at meeeeee!” Well yeah, they are. Better get to some more of his rallies and chant “ lock her up” while you can.

                Now are we done?

              4. Ribico, I was just wondering since you’ve been promising he’d be in jail for the last year or more. What was the original charge again, collusion or conspiracy to collude with the ruskies, right?

              5. Gotta flip and/or jail the little fish first. Right on schedule there. Gotti thought he’d outsmart Mueller, those Enron cats too. How’d that work out for them? Patience Razor. Maybe it’ll happen the year Solomon has double digit sacks , another prediction I’ve heard around here. 😎

              6. Houston, we have a problem. There’s more proof of Sasquatch than President Trump conspiring to collude with the Russians. At least we have pictures, video and footprints….

              7. Sasquatch is real. Russia collusion was manufactured BS to justify 44 spying on his political opponents. Not sure why you are comparing the two.

      1. CJ is on the incline what r u talking about ? They guy is in his prime. Lynch needs to be fired I dont like his ethics.

      1. Any GM candidates available today, or later this week? Let’s dump Lynch by Friday–there’s plenty of time to finish out free agency matters and prep for the draft. Any names?

          1. He was just hired — Senior Personnel Executive for the Miami Dolphins. I suppose the 9ers could seek permission to interview him later today or tomorrow. Dolphins may ask for a draft pick. Hmmmmm….

  3. Probably deserves a D. My guess is that Moseley would have declined the Niners and they went and got the next best LB in their opinion.

    We just have to get used to overpaying due to the California Tax rates.

  4. Just admit you never watched Kwon play. Healthy Kwon is a Pro Bowl player, a PERFECT system fit, AND he’s 24. The 49ers are likely overpaying for contract flexibility here given the ACL. It was announced as ROLLING guarantees (typically means they can cut ties any year on a certain date with no penalty). If that’s the case it’s a great signing due to upside/scheme fit and a really bad LB draft class.

    1. Matt

      You’re correct as far as I’m concerned…I don’t recall ever having seen Kwon play, and I’m trying to renew my trust in GM John Lynch…The amount of guaranteed money does stun me a bit…I’ll roll with this,it sure beats the hell out of Reuben Foster and Solomon Thomas…IMHO

    2. 78 missed tackles in 3.5 years? And a recent ACL injury? I guess he is a PERFECT fit for our system, since we probably lead the league in missed tackles last year and can’t seem to keep guys healthy. Malcom Smith 2.0. If we needed a smallish LB with an injury history, we might as well of kept Bowman. SMH.

      1. Seventy-eight missed tackles…is that a PFF stat? How many attempted tackles total?

        I’m seeing 46 games, 271 tackles, 109 assists, 7.0 sacks, 22 passes defensed, 6 ints (1 returned for TD). Looking for the missed tackle count (I’m sure he had some).

    3. Couldn’t agree more my dude! Now hopefully Bosa is available at #2 and that defensive front 7 will be leaps and bounds better than last years unit.

    4. @Matt,

      I think the other thing that can’t be forgotten is the tax impact of a player moving from a non-state income tax state to a state with an income tax. With the new tax code, CA NFL teams are going to have to pay more to sign FA’s. It’s just a fact of life that teams have to offset the tax burden to players playing in high tax states. It is a true competitive disadvantage in luring top end free agents to the 49ers. Maybe one of you CA tax experts can opine but my back of the napkin calculation shows Alexander will have to pay the state of CA over $3.5M for his guaranteed salary. If he signed the same deal in FL, Alexander’s state tax burden would have been $0. So Tampa Bay could have offered Alexander $23.5M guaranteed and the take home salary would be the exact same as the 49ers paying him $27M guaranteed. Now that individuals are unable to deduct their state income taxes from their federal income taxes there is nothing to offset the higher state taxes. Basically the new tax laws are extraordinarily punitive to NFL teams in states with an income tax.

  5. I certainly did not want them to sign or draft ACL players, but I guess they did their due diligence, and thoroughly checked him out.
    Guess I am hoping for the best, but expect the worse.
    This was a Paraag analytics signing.

    1. I agree 100%
      Damn why do we not go for guys like CJ Mosley ??? Could have just felt with the headcase Reuben Foster for that matter. Now we have YET ANOTHER ACL INJURED PLAYER and he is not even all that good. Why we paying him all that money ?

  6. Wow what a dumbass signing … hope I’m wrong . I normally disagree with everything grant says but this one is a head scratcher. Malcom Smith 2.0

  7. This man had 145 tackles in 2016 and made the pro bowl in 2017. He’s fast as any LB in the league and is great in coverage and gets to the QB when he blitzed. And he fits perfectly in the scheme we run. Coming off the ACL scares me but that’s it. Giving this a F is absurd. I’d give it a C only because of the ACL otherwise this is a very solid pick

    1. It’s a C until the contract details are made public. Therein lies the devil, and why Grant’s grade of a F is sinful.

      1. Grant is always down on 49ers, all i seem to ever read from him if F’s for everything 49ers related. Not sure why he even covers them since he obviously hates them.

              1. No doubt about that, Grant!

                HEY SEBS!!!! Grant agrees with me, and their aint nothing you can do about it!

                Let the spin-meister begin!!

          1. Its fine to be hard on the team for losing but you just grade every player as bad before theyve ever put on a 49ers uniform, if i remember right, and I may be wrong, but you pretty much graded everyone we picked up last year and in the draft as bad, and alot of them ended up as good pickups. Its like you just automatically assume that every player, no matter how good, is a horrible pick-up, that no matter what the 49ers are gonna suck and every player who joins team will just suck. I dont expect good grades on all, but it would be nice to see some unbiased info on a pick-ups potential, fit, previous stas, not just see that grant is grading a pick-up and automatically knowing that itll be an F and youll just talk about how the 49ers suck. I thought this was a site for 49ers fans, but apperently its for Seahawks fans or something to just rag on the 49ers.

              1. We didnt draft kittle last year, plus this article was biased you didnt mention any of his stats or his pro-bowl birth in 2017. You also didnt mention the bucs have had a chip kellyesuqe offense that has put that d in horrible positions. However, I dont like the signing either, MLB just isnt that important anymore and it seems a decent MLB can be found in the mid round if just about any draft.

          2. Grant, you are missing your calling. Come out to NYC and become a Knicks beat writer. Now there’s a team worthy of your wrath. Also good avocado toast out here.

              1. Better? You misunderstood, they are miles worse. If the Niners had a couple good years since 2002? The Knicks have been putrid since after the likes of Latrell Sprewell and Larry Johnson were prowling the Garden. That’s almost 25 years, 14 head coaches since then. The NY Times doesn’t even assign a beat writer – any game reports are AP wire stories. Pathetic, and as your dad can tell you b-ball is the NYC city game. You think the Yorks are bad? They are model owners compared to James Dolan. They need someone to come set them straight, Phill Jackson couldn’t do it, I think this could be your gig!

            1. Knicks had their “Harbaugh years” during the Pat Riley era, close but no cigar. The last Knick championship was about the same time as the last Jets championship. 49ers have had a few good years since then, no?

              Those advocating coach churn can do well to look at how that approach has worked out for teams like the Knicks.

    2. Totally agree, and also agree with some of the other comments about Marathe being extremely clever with these contracts. There have been a couple contracts that have initially appeared a little out of whack, but when you start learning the details, they all seem to be pretty team-friendly in the end. And assuming he comes back from the injury like a lot of players do these days, I think the 9ers could have one of the best linebacking tandems in the league for years to come.

  8. This guy is a potential All Pro and is only 24. He is fast, strong, good in coverage, and a leader. Perfect fit for this system. Hes got better every year and is a A+ if not for injury. Solid B+

  9. Alexander was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2017 and was voted team captain in 2018. Through six games before he was lost, Alexander had amassed 45 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, and defended against two passes. How he comes back from his ACL injury and improves his tackling will go a long way in determining if Alexander was the right player to sign. Right now I grade the signing with a B; it isn’t the greatest signing, but Alexander does look to be a considerable upgrade over what the team had in 2018.

  10. Well we know where you stand Grant. Time will tell. If he stays healthy this is a solid pick-up. He may have missed tackles, but he also made lots. 90 some in 12 games, 140 in 16 and another 90 some in 12 games. I’d say he’s always around the ball. The key to this will be if he stays healthy enough to contribute. Risk vs reward.

      1. Grant

        What did I miss…? I’m counting on Elijah Lee at one of the ILB spots…I guess I hadn’t noticed acerbic splash on him. ? Still ?

  11. The Raiders got Antonio Brown and are about to sign Trent Brown and are looking into Leveon Bell. Who is acting like they are serious about turning things around — the Niners or the Raiders?

          1. The question wasn’t addressed to me, so I felt I’d highlight the pointlessness of the question to you instead.

  12. Don’t know if I’d go F. Maybe a D. I don’t think he’s a top player, the ACL and the price puts me off. But if he pans out, it’s a good move. If not, then the writing is on the wall for this regime.

  13. IF he fully recovers then it’s not a bad signing it just doesn’t feel like a necessary risk for this team to take. If they wanted an all-pro linebacker they should have just drafted Devin White.

      1. So slight trade down then draft him. Hes 1 of 3 given studs in the draft and no Josh Allen ain’t 1 of them

            1. You want a LB in round 1, trade up into the 20’s from round 2. A White in the hand isn’t that much better than one on a Bush.

              CFC, seriously though, after signing Alexander The Great, I don’t see the 49ers drafting a LB whatsoever in this terrible draft at the position….

              1. The 49ers could have traded down from 2 and ended up with Brian Burns and Devin White. Instead, they have Kwon.

  14. An F? lol – Obviously you’ve never watched him play. He’s a team leader, a playmaker, and a perfect system fit. You don’t even have the details of the contract yet.

    ACL is concerning, but it’s not like his contract is fully guaranteed. I’m sure there’s plenty of protections for us in it.

    Cost a little more than I’d hope – but that’s just the nature of free agency. Everyone is overpaid, so hard to complain there. Our team got better – I like it. B grade

          1. And the assertion last year that Foster would be in prison momentarily (2018)–with the incarceration story buried during ‘off-hours’.

  15. Why we are signing injured players and forking out this kind of money can we go ahead and get earl thomas too? Lol C- all day…

  16. Once again another season down the drain, are we ever going to get anybody in the front office that really wants to take the 49ers to the super bowl. I was upset with the John Lynch signing in the beginning I feel he is not worthy of running a team and its showing, it’s a lot of healthy players out there but once again we sign a big contract for another torn ACL player that shows very little respect for what the 49ers actually stood for back in the days. I’m already ready to get rid of Lynch.. I see another 4-12 or worse

    1. Niners…………..

      Something to think about…..Jimmy’s coming back from a torn ACL. Should we dump him?
      No way they do this unless the medical team gives it the OK.

  17. Bill Barnwell gives this signing a D+. Here’s the closing paragraph of his writeup:

    “The evidence suggests Alexander is a good linebacker. The 49ers are paying him like he’s a threat to be a first-team All-Pro linebacker every season, and that just isn’t borne out by Alexander’s career up. A torn ACL is hardly a death knell for careers in the modern NFL, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he got off to a slow start next season, given that he tore up his knee in October. The 49ers will likely have a team-friendly structure on this deal, and I suspect that Alexander’s $27 million in guarantees aren’t fully locked in at the time he signs his deal, but this deal is solving a problem most teams address for far less.”

  18. Grade as of 3/11/2019, mid-day? B-.

    We won’t really know what the 9ers have in Alexander for quite some time–providing the deal is made official.

    Nice photo cherrypicking Grant. Your pic selections telegraph your sentiments–just about always. If you had liked the Alexander addition, you’d have a pic of him making a strong play. Yes, Alexander does have a record of good play. With 100s of pics of Alexander available to the media, he could be made out as the worst LB in modern history, or a playoff MVP, or just pedestrian. Again, nice choice Grant.

      1. Again, let’s see how this plays out. Have any of your expert medical sources reviewed Kwon’s medical records and consulted with his surgeon(s)?

      2. Cmon Grant. They invested heavily into their new and “improved” health staff.
        Gotta give them something to work on.

  19. An F is harsh.

    I’m not happy with the terms of the deal either. However, he’s well liked and respected and doesn’t get in trouble. That fits what the 49ers are looking for. He’s 24years old and was on pace for a monster season last year Averaging over 9 tackles per game with 3 interceptions. He’s probably going to be calling the shots at Mike, assuming he’s healed up a position we sorely need filled, kicking Fred Warner to Will. The first two years are guaranteed so if it doesn’t pan out oh well. We took a gamble on getting a good ILB for his prime years. I would at least give this a C.

    1. I remain neutral. Just not enough to go on in respect either to the player or contract. An F is definitely too harsh. It is far wiser in this case to hold up on a grade until more details become available. But of course in print ” harsh ” is your middle name. I would be curious as to what you would have said in one of your video reports. You probably would have been more circumspect.

  20. Most Tackles Per Game – Since 2015

    Bobby Wagner 8.9
    Luke Kuechly 8.8
    Sean Lee 8.6
    Kwon Alexander 8.3

    *Min. 40 games

    I’d rather have C.J. Mosley but this was no “F” grade Grant.

  21. I feel like Josh Allen is more of a home run but yeah bosa has had some injuries so the niners probably will add him to the team

  22. Grade F is a wrong assessment of this move. Acl isn’t what it used to be players rehab and get back stronger. Kwon is a tacking machine and adds speed to the defense. Pro bowl player at 24 years old. The question is this an upgrade I would say yes.

      1. Grant –
        I don’t like the signing either but Kwon does make a lot of tackles when healthy. He misses a few too (because he’s a speedy ball-hawk). When you get to the ball more often than most linebackers you’re going to have more missed tackles.
        Niners should’ve paid more to get Mosley.

        1. Kwon makes a lot of tackles, but maybe not as much as the person he’s replacing — Elijah Lee. He made 47 tackles in five starts last season. Alexander made 45 tackles in six starts.

          1. Kwon made a lot of tackles consistently over 3.5 years…Elijah made a lot of tackles when teams were running the ball every play, to run the clock out in the 4th quarter. Garbage-time tackles.

              1. I just hope the Niners keep the #2 pick. You can’t go wrong with Bosa or Josh Allen. I’d take Bosa over Allen though.

      2. Grant Cohn says:
        March 11, 2019 at 12:32 pm
        I’m not here to get a reaction. I’m here to be right.

        When does this start? 🤣🤣

      3. I didn’t know Alexander until this morning. Just watched a bunch of videos on YouTube. I’d say there’s a line from Walk Of Life that applies.

      4. Grant:
        * “I’m not here to get a reaction. I’m here to be right.”
        * Right, left or center, you’re here to get hits! That’s why you play devil’s advocate! Let’s be real dude, go
        ahead and try telling me you don’t. That’s what feeds the bull dog!

  23. Tampa Bay rushing yards allowed per game in 2018:



    I was also skeptical because of the acl but grant do your research. He’s a young athletic linebacker whose a great scheme fit and an excellent locker room personality. You pay for guys like that. Mosley is awful in coverage Alexander excels there. Also don’t come here with his pff grade cus you didn’t buy that with Trent brown

    1. To be fair, if you’re going to post rushing numbers from those first six games, you should also include the passing yardage and whether or not the game was in contention. A team that is battling back and throwing the ball all over the field isn’t going to post good rushing numbers, as they won’t have the rushing attempts. Without posting this data you can’t just assume that one linebacker’s presence on the field is the reason why the rushing yards were what they were. Additionally, there are five games where he didn’t play that the Buccs held their opponents to fewer yards rushing than his worst game (caveat: I wrote that last sentence before I found out your posted yards allowed weren’t accurate).

      Game 1 against Atlanta. You have 43 yards, but ESPN shows they gave up 70 rushing yards to the Falcons. The Falcons led virtually the whole game, and Ryan threw for 355 yards at a 75% completion rate. I wouldn’t consider Alexander the reason for the low total in this game.
      Game 2 against Cleveland. You have 91 yards, but ESPN shows they gave up 119 (not a huge difference, but 30 yards is 30 yards). The Buccs only allowed 119 yards, but Cleveland was down 16-2 at halftime and had to throw in the second half, plus their leading rusher had 80 yards at 4.4 ypc. Again, this isn’t great data to support Alexander’s case.
      Game 3 against Cincinnati. Your stats appear to be wrong here as well. Mixon ran all over them for 123 yards and 2 TDs at 5.1 ypc. Not a good game by the Buccs defense, especially considering they almost gave up 300 passing yards (280 before sacks) to Dalton as well. Though I’m willing to concede this could be a one-off.
      Game 4 against Carolina. ESPN has them giving up 179 rushing yards at 5.6 ypc. And Newton threw for 247 yards at a 76% completion rate. I would definitely not count this game as a supporting argument.
      Game 5 against Washington. They gave up 116 rushing yards at 4.6 ypc, but the game’s score ended up being 16-3 Washington, with a notorious game manager on the other side of the field. This looks more like the exception than the rule.
      Game 6 against New York. They gave up 163 total rushing yards at 5.3 ypc, including 142 and 2 TDs to Saquon Barkley. Eli also completed passes at will going 17/18 for 231 yards (before sacks). I don’t know where in this game Alexander was injured, so I can’t determine how much impact he had on the overall game.

      These numbers look eerily similar to a MLB who used to wear number 50 for the 49ers. Derek Smith racked up TONS of tackles. Usually 8 or 9 yards downfield, and 4 or 5 yards after initial contact. I’m not saying they’re the same player, but if the 49ers are about to pay that kind of production $13.5M a year for four years, they’re not even able to distinguish what the problem areas are on this team.

  24. Sf49ers sign my son he tore his ACL in his senior year in high school he is 21 today hasn’t played football since he should be worth 35 million with 20 guaranteed 49ers PLEASE reply you can find him THROUGH are email thank you

  25. I woulda signed….C.J. Mosley, earl thomas
    Drafted Josh Allen and…..D.K. Metcalf!!! Miss me with all the Deebo talk

    Boom!!! Just killed the off-season

  26. Grant,

    Like I said before last week the 49ers management is horrible. it did not take them long to already mess up the 2019 season. their are many more LBS out their that are better than this guy and they are going to pay him this much amount of money, that’s just crazy. it doesn’t matter if its a year to year contract or how they structure the deal, we need healthy and good LBS, he might not be even ready for the start of the season if he tore his ACL in the middle of the season and pay him $13.5. This is another example of the 49ers management over paying for 2nd and 3rd tier players, lime Smith, Jerrick, the FB, Garcon (which he is released but still will count against the cap with dead money).

    They better do something real quick to really make this team good next year because if not then get ready for another down year.

  27. C, for now. We don’t know everything to know if this is good or not, such as how the guarantees work and his rehab from the ACL injury. I will note it is an attempt to address an obvious weakness for the 49’ers, which I as a fan appreciate. CJ Moseley would have cost just as much, if not more. Elijah Lee is a solid backup at best.

    1. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    1. Agreed……6’4″…4.4-40, super fast 3 cone and 20 yd shuttle, lots faster than D.K. in those two areas and jumps a country mile high, Redzone!!. Hopeful day 2 pick.

      1. Most unlikely because of the premium Shanny puts on precise route running. Samuel or Ridley are the proficient route runners that Shanny may have interest in….

      2. Boykin has a good chance going 2nd or 3rd round, very impressive combine and strong hands. The new WR coaches could show off their abilities and teach him up.

  28. I wonder if Ben Peterson and his team had the chance to examine Alexander so they could determine his long term prognosis prior to this signing. Seems weird to go after a guy coming off an ACL when there are much better LB’s without the injury concern still in FA.

      1. Mosely, Barr, and I really like Hicks but I know he has his own injury issues. Could very well be that the 49ers tried on all 3 of those guys and discovered very quickly they weren’t going to be in the running so they concentrated on Alexander.

        1. Houston,

          Fair enough. Mosley is a good LB but isn’t great against the pass.

          Like previously mentioned by another poster, Kwon is more athletic than the rest of the available LBs and is better suited to defend against the pass.

          If healthy, I think he’ll make a great pairing with Warner

  29. I couldn’t agree more.
    It’s a terrible signing. Paying this kind of money for a guy coming off an ACL tear doesn’t make sense. The worst part is that it’s another example of this regime not learning from previous mistakes.
    It smacks of Baalke, they are just blind to different mistakes.

    1. Shoup. Let’s wait and see if the discontentment with this signing is mitigated by a relatively team-friendly contract once all of the details are in. I’m still hoping that we can sign a good edge rusher. But sticker shock is going to be huge this year.

  30. Grant
    This grade makes no sense, dude fits the D, can play at a high level, and it does not handicap us in the cap going after other players. We needed a quality LB badly and we got a young and talented one. Yes we overpaid but he could very well live up to his contract, he has that kind of ability. Easy B he is above avg player on a team full of avg LB

  31. Bit premature to give it an F. Obviously they’re banking he’s on his way to stardom and/or that’s just what they have to play for a good young player with experience and bona fides. You can talk Mosley and Thomas, but who’s to say they want to come here? We’ll just have to see who they can sign.

    Re the guaranteed money, remember the great State of California’s gonna take 13.3%, or approx. $3.6 mill. He’ll be rich, yes, but he’s looking forward to CTE, like most of them are.

    1. George. The California teams should make a proposal to adjust the salary cap for each team based on state income tax. This would help to “even out” the recruiting field. It wouldn’t be that hard to come up with a sofware algorithm to handle this. Of course, it won’t be perfect, but certainly better than the inequity that exists now.

  32. Grant – always quick to bash a move like this when I highly doubt you’ve even heard of this player before 10 minutes ago – he’s a great ILB that fits our scheme and lining up next to Fred Warner perfect…..two young inside LB’s with speed and ability to stop the run…..we can agree that the ACL injury is scary because of some of the 49ers history with drafting ACL injured players but those were players who had never proved themselves in the NFL – Kwon will comeback and be a great addition to this DEFENSE – the Niners have proven they pay for the players they want, just like with Weston and Jerrick last year – it will take 2 years to evaluate this signing but rating it an F is typical Grant Cohn…….I love reading your stuff because its always so negative and I’ve grown to just assume you’ll react that way……way to be consistent Grant.

          1. Remember, Grant’s aim is to be right.

            I wonder if PFF has grades for sports media ‘rightness’? If so, what would Grant’s right score be?

          2. After commenting for the first time ever, after reading your articles and getting SO mad for years you have won me over with two simple, but funny comments – I’m serious Grant – I don’t like your analysis on the 49ers because sometimes its right, they do make bad decisions, but your two responses to me have been very good…..nice work. Have a good day. I will be back again and I think that’s the point.

  33. Not all Guaranteed Money is the same. I read somewhere it was described as “Rolling Guarantees”. Which to me means Roster Bonuses. Roster bonuses are usually paid at the beginning of each year. So there’s might not be much binding the 49ers to Alexander financially if they have to cut him in the off season. Others have mentioned active roster bonuses payed out during the year as a possibility for a player that has been injured a lot. One thing Paraag doesn’t do are big signing bonuses which tend to bind teams financially in the future.

    I wonder if there’s some belief that the kid’s injury history has impacted his on field performance and that if he were healthy that he’d be a better player on the field?

    1. Thanks for the reminder AFP,
      I still don’t love the signing but the structure of the contract could make it far more palatable.

  34. LOL injuries happen all the time in the NFL. Even to the best of them. We signed McKinnon and he got hurt and so did Jimmy G. It’s part of Football! Gladiators going to war will get hurt!. Great signing!. He’s young and has a high ceiling. He’ll bounce back from this injury. To say the Niners don’t want to get healthy is ridiculous. Their adding players who’ll make an impact. Kwon will play next season.

  35. John Lynch is a joke. In way over his head. A self-promoting stuffed shirt. They are everywhere in the business world. One thing we can be sure of anytime the Niners sign a free agent; they will be paid twice what they are worth. If you are going to overpay, then overpay the best, not some mediocre injured lb. I know that pff grades can be off, but they had him as #65 and graded below both Malcolm Smith and Elijah Lee. Why overpay?

    Niners are going nowhere with this Shanahan Lynch team. They are clueless.

    1. Yup. I said this about Lynch from the first season after listening and watching him operate. I don’t even listen or read what he has to say. It’s nauseating. He has plenty of supporters here though. Lol!
      People rag on Grant for being negative. What’s he supposed to do? Make up some sh*t about how great this FO and team is? I already think that he gives them too much credit. They are one win away from being the worst team in football.
      You’ve stated it perfectly: From somewhere they’ll dig up some questionable player that almost no one seems to want and pay him like he’s a perennial all pro. SMH!
      Not much to look forward to with this lot.
      Well they did sign that kicker I suppose.

  36. What a waste. C.J. Mosley way better than this lame. This guy hasn’t even played a full season yet. You guys praising this dude cause of one Pro bowl year? Mosley has more tackles ints sacks and less missed tackles. Mosley been to 4 pro bowls in 5 years. Or we could just as easy draft a MLB for way cheaper. BAALKE 2.0 GOTTA GO!

          1. C.J. Mosley can do everything. He can blitz, cover, TACKLE, etc. and you guys get all moist cause Alexander been to ONE probowl when Mosley been to FOUR in 5 years. His stats are a lot better than Alexander. I had a torn ACL and you’re not the same coming back. For jimmy it’s not as serious because you don’t move around as much and it’s more straight line. Defenders have to react which means more stress on the ligaments and leg movement. Stop and go, lateral, as well ass instant change in direction. Nobody is the same after ACLs. So yeah that more than proves my point.

            1. And if Mosley were here right now, he’d consume the Rams with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse.

  37. Ian Rapoport

    Sources: Former #Giants star S Landon Collins is signing a 6-year deal for a whopping $84M with the rival #Redskins. Hard to imagine a box safety with this kind of deal after last year’s slow safety market. This moves the market dramatically.

  38. Shocked-just shocked I tell you. I did not see this coming. Nobody had projected this. For me the idea of getting a LB so that we don’t have use draft capital is right, but for a guy coming off ACL even though in this day and age the surgeries are successful to be paid that much who is injury prone and missed to much tackles. It has to be a D right now. Especially a new record breaking deal. Three things have to happen, he has to stay healthy, the contract has to be team friendly so that we can cut bait after 2 years if he proves to be a dud, and finally he better make plays! I was hoping the news on Earl Thomas, CJ Mosely or Houston or Ford. So disappointed. I better proven wrong.

  39. Yeah, not happy about the signing. Kwon wasn’t really making a name for himself before he was injured, and the injury only magnifies my concerns.

    But, I’m not going to give an F grade before he’s ever played a down for us.
    For me it’s a: TBD

  40. Once again pretty biased argument, correct but biased. Grant you leave out that he was a 2017 pro-bowler, is young 24, excels at rushing the passer, and is a sideline to sideline player. You also leave out the bucs offense and its affect on that defense. With all the turnovers and poor ball control anybody on that bucs defense doesnt stand a chance.
    What you should’ve argued is positional value, cost, and the ability to easily grab a lower cost MLB in the draft or FA that could’ve met the teams needs.
    I’d give this a C-
    Pros: 2017 pro-bowler, young, lots of potential, scheme fit, hugh ceiling.
    Cons: coming off injury, low positional value, expensive, has had tackling issues, even had pro-bowl level play doesnt improve the team all that much.

  41. Urgh, that’s a lot of money for a LB coming off an ACL injury with a history of missing a lot of tackles. I thought they would go hard for a LB, but not Alexander.

    I assume they see him as a perfect fit for the Telvin Smith/ Deion Jones role. And admittedly Smith also misses a lot of tackles while still being a very good player, but man, I just don’t think Alexander is that much of a must have.

    The only reason I can think of for making this their priority is the depth of players available at FS and edge compared to ILB.

  42. Hey Grant. Looks like 9ers screw-ups continue. Please, schedule that interview with Denise and–among other things–ask why she’s allowed the franchise to become the embarrassment that it is. Seriously. Get that interview and put her on the hot seat.

  43. Hey Grant II…

    Look closely at the pic you selected for your commentary. Is that a C (for Captain) on Kwon’s jersey? Do you know how he earned that C? I sure don’t.

  44. Picture if you will.
    You’re 21 years old again. You have tons of money in your pocket because Grammy passed and gave you an inheritance.

    You think I’m going shopping.
    You go downtown, excited and ready to buy the things you really “need”.

    You come up to the beginning of the block. There are stores all around with wonderful things shining with glorious bling.
    This block goes on for almost a mile.

    You pass one store and see a toy you like, you think eeeewwwie. I want it, but hesitate, you stop and think for just a minute. And someone else goes into the store and buys it, you see this glorious toy get snatched out of the window. You think dang it, I waited to long.
    And you think I wont let this happen again.
    Somewhere in the back of your mind you say to yourself, pace yourself, pace yourself.

    You come up to window two, what you saw online is no longer there. You were outbid and the person came to pick it up.
    Now you’re starting to feel itchy.. remember you’re young with money.

    Window three comes up. You see the same type of toy you saw in window one, except this is a knock off but you don’t know it. It’s an exact replica of what you believe is a “great new toy” you saw in window one. The price is almost exact to the first one. So it has to be the real deal, you got lucky and found your treasure 2 stores down.
    You walk confident. You surely aren’t going to let this one pass you by. You tell the clerk to grab it from the window. You’re excited this “toy” will be a big piece to your collection.
    The clerk asks your name and email. You reply. J Lynch.
    He rings it up. You just bought a knock off and don’t know it yet. You’ve wasted a third of your spending money. And there are no returns.

    You decide to continue down the block, all of a sudden your toy has a part fall off. (Bad knee) you think oh man I’m glad I bought those new tools. (New med staff) No problem I can fix it. As you go you start to see other “toys” that seem stronger and more durable you check your reciept again to see if there may be a return policy you can work around.
    Nothing! Your friends (fans) are going to laugh at you. You bought a lemon for a hefty price.
    You start thinking of ways to sweet talk this purchase. To cover the stink. You are going to smile when explaining this purchase. You’re ready to do this and you will introduce this new purchase with lights and cameras everywhere. Gotta make it big.

    So at 1:34pm this is where J Lynch and the 49ers are at this point. Not even halfway down the block and already wasted money on a knockoff.

    This shopping spree is still in progress. Scary. Very scary.

    1. Unless they put the broken toy on ebay, or just toss it in the trash and cut their losses buy mid-summer.

  45. I feel the Niners overpaid but getting a linebacker with an all pro upside is not a bad move for the middle of the field. I didnt know that the niners felt they needed another impact linebacker after loosing reuben, obviously they did. Anxious to see what other puzzle pieces are added to compliment. Oh and Grant understands that to be a known sports writer is to cause some controversy. If Grant followed the Niners in the 90s he would have a better bar to apply free agent talent to, unlike the NFL parody league we see from year to year. NFL is the ultimate team sport; eveything depends on the players around you and coaching.

  46. I think this is a fantastic signing at a position of need. I wanted C.J. Mosley, but Kwon is younger 24, and will prove to be cheaper in the long run, and a huge upgrade over Malcolm Smith or Brock Coyle. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, is that while many don’t like Paraag Marathe, he’s done a great job in keeping contracts manageable and easy to exit if the players don’t work out. Most teams would’ve been in Cap hell after what we went through from 2011 – present. Let’s wait and see the true guaranteed $$.

    Now let’s get a veteran edge rusher to pair with our soon to be rookie #2 overall edge and a veteran safety not named Earl Thomas. Did anyone see what Washington paid for Landon Collins, that’s how you overpay in FA and put your future in jeopardy; something I believe the Niners didn’t do with the Alexander signing, or any FA signings so far in the Lynchahan era!

  47. What I will say for Alexander is that I believe the Bucs actually misused him as a MLB, and he still performed pretty well. The 49ers should put him at WILL imo. Leave Warner at Mike.

  48. Check this… Grant’s mock draft 5.0 from April 22, 2015…

    “Here is my latest attempt to predict which picks the 49ers will make in the upcoming draft.

    Round 3, pick No. 79: Kwon Alexander, ILB, Louisiana State

    Alexander ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at the combine – he is one of the fastest linebackers in the draft. He has the speed to cover Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham.”

            1. Grant. I imagine you have a contact or two in the Tampa Bay sports media world. Ask about Kwon–his abilities as a player, leadership qualities, etc. Okay? Then share with us what you find.

              Thanks in advance.

    1. Yes, let’s keep moving forward. The structure of Kwon’s contract will be revealed in the days ahead–probably not as maniacally stupid as a few would think.

  49. Grant…. Capture all this input. Great material for a Press Democrat 49ers Blog electronic (best of) scrapbook. Some of today’s material is killer!

  50. Bucs General Manager Jason Licht has called Alexander “the heartbeat of the defense.”

    Alexander is only 24 and made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2017.

    Alexander, 29th on PFT‘s top-100 free agents list, has six interceptions, six forced fumbles and seven sacks in 46 career games

  51. Trey flowers just got 17 per, Mosley is about to get more. This Alexander contract seems decent. But that depends on how he plays, are we getting the pro bowler or are we getting Malcolm Smith version 2?

    1. Does anyone really believe with Marathe in charge of contracts that the 49ers did a bad deal? I got to visit his office back on a school trip once, and he had ‘The Art Of The Deal’ on his desk….📕

    1. He played Mike for the Bucs, but yes, I expect he will take over the WILL spot for the 49ers. He isn’t dissimilar to Foster as a player – passionate, fast, flies to the ball. I imagine that is exactly why they have signed him, to be what they hoped Foster would be.

      1. I think Alexander is smarter than Foster as a player. Foster was also supposed to be a MIKE backer but he wasn’t bright enough to play the position. The guy was just not disciplined enough. He was more of a see ball get ball kind of player. At WILL the backer is more likely to freely flow over to the edge and play in space (gap exchange). Warner isn’t really a take on blockers backer. He works better in space and he made some significant mental mistakes at MIKE last year.

        1. Alexander may be a bit smarter than Foster – not exactly hard. But I believe he was miscast as a Mike at the Bucs. His style of play is similar to Foster.

    2. Yes and no. I think Alexander is going to play MIKE (it was his position with the Bucs and he was the one that received the defensive plays and made the calls) so he can direct the defense. That will move Warner back to the WILL position….which I think is his natural position anyway.

      1. Yeah, I actually think it will be the other way around. Leave Warner at Mike and have Alexander at WILL. Imo both guys are best suited to playing WILL though, but have the smarts to be in the middle, so could go either way.

          1. They are interchangeable in that the reads are fairly similar both seek to flow over the top to protect the edge (assuming their interior gaps are “cloudy”). But there’s a bubble where MIKE lines up so he’s far more likely to have take on a Guard so the MIKE’s ability to stack and shed is much more necessary than a WILL who will tend to operate more in often in space.

      2. How does the effect of a Wide-9 line formation effect the Niners’ linebackers in regard to playing in space? Doesn’t the wider configuration now rely on greater linebacker take-on skills? And what does the tape show as to Alexander and Warner’s abilities to play downhill to fill such wider gaps? Would love the opinions of allforfunnplay, Scooter, and Razor, who responded to this comment thread.

          1. I could also see a defensive line call in the base that tells the LEO and Big End or SAM to take a wider angle to the QB when they believe a pass is coming. The LEO is in or almost in a wide 9 technique anyway. It’d be like an “ears” call with a slight change in technique.

            1. It’s possible the 49ers will adopt a Wide-9 look even in the base defense as a way to stop the jet sweep and outside zone. I don’t know what they plan to do, though.

  52. I mentioned the 49ers would sign a big time free agent 2 weeks ago because it’s year 3 of the rebuild–the halfway point.

  53. Alexander’s biggest knock is a load of missed tackles, likely due to his lack of size. However, his responsibilities for San Francisco will involve a lot of coverage, and he’s plenty athletic to take on a workload that involves covering running backs and tight ends.

    Starting to make sense……Mosley biggest weakness was his coverage play….

          1. PFF Grades:

            Pierre Desir – 77.7, ranking 18th
            Richard Sherman – 68.9, ranking 50th
            Bradley Roby – 59.8, ranking 97th
            Ahkello Witherspoon – 44.9, ranking 112th

    1. Nice, but I don’t expect them to sign him. They seem to only spend big on second-tier positions, like Will linebacker.

        1. It’s nowhere near as valuable as corner, free safety or edge rusher — the 49ers three-biggest needs on defense.

          1. I’m a firm believer in owning the middle of the field, but your point is well taken. QB, OT, Edge and CB are the most important positions.

      1. I am not really sure how the WILL is a second-tier position. Heck, I am not sure how any starting position is second-tier.

  54. Hoping the guaranteed money is heavy in roster bonuses and/or rolling injury guarantees like Kaepernick’s contract.

    1. I have a strong suspicion the 49ers were not as serious about bringing Suggs aboard as they were driving his price up for the Cardinals….

          1. In a down season, Roby broke up 12 passes. In Desir’s best season, he broke up eight. And he’s two years older than Roby, who is the same size as Shaquill Griffin, the No. 1 corner for the Seahawks.

            1. Four of those passes Roby broke up came against the Cardinals, along with his lone interception of the season.

              1. “Four of those passes Roby broke up came against the Cardinals”

                That’s pretty damn good considering that 49ers CB’s combined for a total of 2 pass breakups over the course of 2 games.

                The defending of a crappy team on here is amazing.

              2. Roby wasn’t very good as a #2 corner last year. I hope we do not sign him. He’s no better than a #3 as far as I’m concerned.

              3. Jack, I had more pass breakups than the 49ers secondary last season. However, that doesn’t mean I should be their new CB.

  55. This signing makes a ton of sense considering the 49ers have had so much success with guys coming off ACL injuries.

    1. Like I told Grant. Hammer.
      They have to keep this upgrade of a med staff on their toes.
      Gotta show off the new garage tool set.

  56. Grant.. You obviously sit behind a desk too much and think your smarter then everyone. Which is why your just a journalist and not actually involved in making big decisions on athletes. He is everything foster should of been and more.

    1. Yea, everything Foster was and more – as in injury questions. Lynch is consistent if nothing else. At least he isn’t smacking his GF or wife around. So you’re right, it’s an upgrade but a little pricey and totally risky when all is said and done.

  57. Signings like this always irk me. The VAST majority of players are never as good as they were before their injuries – Frank Gore aside. Yet teams, including the 49ers continue to pick and pay them based on their performance before their injuries. Makes no sense to me. Reuben Foster – case in point. It’s part of the reason that I believe Bosa will be a risk. Everyone in love with him is basing it ALL on pre-injury performance. Sorry but it usually doesn’t guarantee anything going forward.

    Why not just choose someone that doesn’t come with prior injury questions?

    1. “Why not just choose someone that doesn’t come with prior injury questions?

      Because then the 49ers would be a good organization.

              1. He was still a gamble Grant because no one knew if injuries would continue to plague him as a pro.

              2. A much smaller gamble, though, because he played a full season before entering the draft and was way cheaper than Alexander.

              3. A gamble nonetheless Grant. Alexander got the money that he did because he is an ILB. However, his speed also means that he can be a WILL if that is where the 49ers want him.

        1. What does that even mean? Frank Gore was the welcome exception to the usual injury outcomes. Did you miss that in the comment?

          1. No, but your question is beyond the point of bad. There have only been two times that Alexander was injured to where he could not play, and choosing a player in the draft or free agency that has been injury free does not guarantee that their tenure with the team will be injury free.

              1. PhD’s question is on the same level as trying to kick the back of your head with your own foot. He would have something if we were talking about Verrett or even Thomas.
                Too many people are making a big deal out of an injury that took him out like it would any other player. Aside from last season, he had only missed four other games due to an injury; the other four missed games were due to being suspended.

              2. “That’s 28 percent of his team’s games.”

                No big deal, especially for this organization.

                Remind me again, what was the biggest excuse for the miserable record last season from so many?

              3. If you include the suspension. But since we are only discussing his injury history, the number falls down to 21 percent. Is that number still disconcerting? Yes, but it should be expected given the fact that he was lost during the seventh game of last season.

  58. What a disappointing move by the front office we just kept 3 linebackers and if we were going to spend a lot of money on defense it should be spent on Edge and Cornerback help. I myself give this move an F+.

  59. Breakdown: This is a lot of money for a player who is insanely talented but does struggle at times…

    It’s clear the 49ers’ defense requires that all-over menace in the middle, and Alexander is your best option…

    You can look at San Francisco’s cap space a little bit like funny money anyway since they do have to spend. They are going after core players, but Alexander is coming off a torn ACL and plays a very intense, all-over version of that middle linebacker slot. The bottom line: Alexander is the kind of player who can smash a tight end and knock him off his route—the kind of person who can stick with some of the bigger mismatch creators at the position, and still have a steady presence in the run game.

    Grade: B-

          1. uh…okay? I was hoping for something a little more definitive than “just because”. Even your opinion would have been more gratifying response.

              1. was that recently? or was that during the season when they had little choice?

                I just don’t see Warner as a MIKE backer. He’s just not stout enough IMO. And his inexperience at making the defensive calls hurt the team last season. Alexander at least has that kind of experience.

                It’s as if the 49ers see their linebackers are primarily mid range coverage players and not run defenders who can cover. Either they need a serious upgrade at NT and must absolutely keep Armstead….as well as stop with the all gas and no breaks stuff and play disciplined gap control defense….or their linebackers are going to get run over. Do you think Fangio would have been cool with linebackers that don’t stack and shed their blockers and control their gaps?

              2. It was after the season, if I recall correctly. I’ll check.

                No, Fangio would not have been cool with what you described. His defenses are the most disciplined in the NFL.

              3. I’ve been trying to put my finger on Saleh’s defense for a couple seasons. There’s something off about it.

                It seems like he’s been trying to almost create a hybrid of the Under scheme and try to get benefits of the Miami 4-3 Over scheme. He (and his defensive linemen) talk about how he wants them to aggressively attack their gaps. Which to me seems like he’s trying to get the players to spill ball carriers to the SAM or Rover (box safety) in the base. In some ways it makes sense it’s much the way you’d have to play the run in the Nickel. But the Under scheme is dependent on the NT and Big End squeezing their gaps (as well as the 3T who squeezes and then release into the backfield). Squeezing is basically hitting your blocker with your inside shoulder and driving him back to shrink the gap behind him. This clouds the gaps the MIKE and WILL are assigned and allow them to flow over (gap exchange) to the next open gap or to the ball carrier on the edge. But in the Miami 4-3 the backfield penetrators expose the defense in the middle. That’s why the only true linebacker (as traditionally the SAM and WILL were undersized linebackers or converted safeties) was the MIKE backer to help make up for that schematic weakness. But if the d-linemen in Saleh’s defense are firing into the gaps then that leaves them vulnerable unless they have a stout MIKE to man the middle.

  60. Me sorprendio y molesto que no cerraran el trato por Brown los 49 ers pero entiendo que no es costumbre de esta gerencia contratar a jugadores que tengan la “mala” costumbre de mantenerse sanos por toda la temporada (Garoppolo, McKinnon, Tartt, Ward, Garnett, Armsteard ) y además de pagar de más por ellos, este tipo es bueno espero que se mantenga sano, si no será más de lo mismo.

      1. He is surprised and annoyed that they did not close the deal for Brown, But he understands that is not managements’ style to sign contracts to players with bad injury histories all the time. Also, they need to pay more for healthy ones. That type is hopefully good, and hopes they will stay healthy, not like the others.

        1. Nope:

          “I was surprised and it upset (bothered) me that they didn’t finalize the deal with Brown, but I understand that this Front Office (management) does not have the habit of signing players who stay healthy all season (Garoppolo, McKinnon, Tartt, Ward, Garnett, Armsteard ), plus they overpay for them, this guy is good, hope he stays healthy, otherwise it will be more of the same.”

          1. Yes but so is turnovers. Were you aware that In 46 games over four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Alexander The Great tallied 7 sacks, 6 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles? Were you also aware that as a defense we did not like to take? We needed a playmaker, and we need another one in ET.📞🏡

        1. Perhaps it’s a SFC (sacrifice for championship) signing.
          Matthieu is signing on with a team that has a very high probability of earning a SB ship.

          The 49ers are nowhere near that level at the moment which makes me consider that they need to fork out huge money to attract even sub-par FA talent.

          It’s simple; winning teams attract top line FA players. Losing teams hope to get lucky with 2nd tier players.
          Until the 49ers become a winning franchise they will need to gnaw and scratch for relevance.
          That’s why this draft becomes the most important hurdle in the Lynch / Shanahan era.
          The draft builds the core of the team while FAs are hired gun’s.

  61. I just want to preface this by saying I truly HOPE that he heals and plays like they are gambling he will. That having been said, maybe Lynch and Shanahan never had major injuries in their careers. They seem very cavalier towards them. I remember Shanahan recently saying something like ‘oh ACLs are not a big thing these days.’ like people are different now. Sorry Kyle, no matter how much medicine advances it still is something that there are no guarantees from. Everybody heals differently. Even healed injuries can place stress on other adjoining areas of the anatomy. Is every player willing to put in the necessary rehab effort when he’s now sitting on millions in the bank?

    Oh well, they are just pissing away Jed’s monopoly money and they got theirs no matter what so their worst case scenario is that they banked big time off Jed and move on if it doesn’t work out. Meanwhile, life-long die hard fans are still left holding the bag with a team that is a hollow version of the glory years from the past.

  62. Hey what the hell, I’m 40 and I can play football pretty good. So can I get a contract? Just throwing money away on any ole players this season,so I thought I’d see if I had a chance. Lol #Niners4Life

  63. wow one signing in free agency and the faithful go ape s–t. unbelievable .give it a chance before all the boo hoo and hand wringing.

    1. The only ones going ape s-t are the ones firmly against the signing. There are plenty of the “faithful” that are utilizing a wait-and-see mode. Get your facts straight; this isn’t a broadcast station.

  64. It seems like we could have had Alexander for a lot less. Why overpay and commit to more than one year? Seems like Lynch is trying really hard to be player friendly.

    Alexander may or may not workout, but we over paid. I hope he does work out.

    1. He was rated as the second best ILB on the market, and that guy above him was rumored to be in the $16 million per year range leading up to today.

      1. Do you think he’s worth being the second highest paid player on the team?

        He might be the second best ILB in free agency, doesn’t mean you pay him like one of the best ILB’s in the NFL.

        1. We will not know whether Alexander is the second highest paid player until the full contract details are revealed.

          1. True, they’re pretty good at guessing contracts. He’s a good player and hopefully returns to form. Lynch overpaid for Smith and he’s done it again with Alexander.

  65. Before Alexander tore his ACL, the Buc’s defense gave up 90 rushing YPG. After he went down, the defense gave up 144 rushing YPG. He’s also a great teammate and locker room guy.

  66. James Brady
    I now believe that Ronald Darby is their top priority, not a trade with OBJ — but then again, trades are a lot more complicated than signings. Told many believe Darby and the Eagles can still work out a deal, though.

  67. SF seems to have a good chunk of cap space left to go ahead and sign some of the other guys mentioned here.

    Is Kwon better than any other alternative the 49ers currently have on their roster? If so, I’m happy. How does anyone know SF didn’t try to sign other FA LB options, but couldn’t?

    Do teams buy insurance on player contracts in case they get hurt again?

    I’m more interested in FA upgrades SF is able to sign for OL and DB…

    1. Since 2011, only 9 players in the NFL have over 50 missed tackles. Kwon Alexander has 78. He’ll need to clean that up, and there’s no ifs, ands or buts about that….

      1. Tell us who….sounds interesting. Is that 50 over one year, or over a player’s career? If player U missed more than 50 over 16 games that’s one thing. If player K missed more than 50 over 150 games, that’s something else.

  68. Well, at least the Niners are trying to improve. They overspent for an ACL player, but if he recovers fully, he might be a good replacement for Foster.
    Many think an F is too low. I would give it a D+/ C-, although, like others say, it should be an incomplete until he gets on the field.
    Many good players are still available, so I hope JL stays aggressive.
    One move I hope they make is trading Jeff Wilson and Malcolm Smith for Frank Gore.

    1. Seb, why keep insisting they bring Frank back? He doesn’t fit KS’s zone scheme. He’s not fast enough. He’s a HOF player that we all love and admire, he’s not going to help the team move forward. I am ok with dealing Smith and Wilson. The problem is no one wants them.

  69. Wtf I’m a 49ers FOR LIFE. Why do we always pick up injured players. You would think all the injuries last year they would pick a healthy free agent. Get rid of that damn Jimmy ward also he hasn’t did nothing. Get some DB free agents for crying out loud. 2 interceptions the whole 2018 season. Bring MERTON HANKS AND SANDERS BACK SINCE WE HAVEN’T WON NOTHING SINCE. MY GRADE FOR THE PICK UP INCOMPLETE GRADE.

  70. I don’t know much about grading,
    but it seems the Niners should draft for promise,
    and pay for certainty.

    There’s too much uncertain when the player shows up with an existing injury. Overreaching before the draft to “take care of obvious holes” seems to be a theme.

  71. Grant is certainly correct that the Niners have been a terrible organization under silver spoon Jed but this is a new beginning. Lynch and Shanahan have been at this for two years. They lost their star quarterback last year. Tons of other injuries. They have made some mistakes but hit on some great picks as well. The team seems to be on the right path. For me, as a Niners fan of 30 years, I am the most hopeful I have been in a while. Give these guys a chance.

    It is interesting how nearly all fans and writers think they know what is best for the team. How can everyone feel that they are correct most of the time and yet have very different opinions from each other? It is mathematically impossible for that to be true. The answer lies in selective memory, as we all tend to remember when we were right and suppress memories of being wrong. It is human nature. Grant’s history will tell you that his opinions have been right at times and wrong at times. Like all of us. The difference is that we are just bystanders and have the courage of the non-combatant. Grant’s use of his correct assessment of the Niners’ history as an argument for why this pick is bad, is clearly flawed reasoning.

    Having said all that, let’s see what the contract looks like… the dude is a playmaker and young. I like it. I wonder what Grant would have written about the Niners in the early days of Walsh.

  72. If the 49ers want to contend they should have picked up Brown,Bell, and Mark Ingram, got Bosa in the draft then they will be in contention to win. Lynch better stick to coaching defense because his GM decision making skills suck!

  73. You spend a significant amount of your Cap money on an injured player? That’s a recipe for failure. Even if rehab goes well it’s a huge gamble. Anything less than outstanding play and the signing is a fail.. Your better off signing five LB’s for $3 million each, bringing them to camp and cutting all but the top player or two.. Senseless signing saved only if the guy has a Pro Bowl year. What’s the odds of a torn ACL 10/21/18 having a Pro Bowl year in 2019?

  74. Does the new contract for CJ Mosely change anyone’s mind about Alexander’s contract? Would you rather have Mosely at $85M or Alexander at $54 million (with a lot less guaranteed)?

    Rapoport reports that the deal is worth $85 million with $51 million in guaranteed money. That’s bigger than the four-year, $54 million deal that Kwon Alexander agreed to with the 49ers and would set a new standard for inside linebackers.

      1. Yeah. I am not thrilled with the signing. either. If he comes back all the way from the torn ACL, great. Otherwise the jury is still out. Anyway, hoping the Niners will sign an Edge, Corner, and Safety…..

    1. Beachie, just because someone paid Mosely stupid money doesn’t justify overpaying Alexander. I am thankful the 49ers didn’t do something as stupid as $85 million for Mosely. Alexander could be a good pick up, let’s see how it turns out. How did you feel about the $26 million Lynch spent on Malcolm Smith? He’s not lived up to that paycheck. I think what people are pointing out is that Lynch tends to overpay. I think we paid to much for Smith and too much for Kyle Juszczyk. He should be getting more touches at his contract level and have production closer to Kittle’s.

      What people are fussing is that it seems like Lynch overpays when he doesn’t have to and then doesn’t address some of the greater areas of need. There’s still time in FA to get a safety and edge rusher.

  75. Grant,

    I agree with this grade. Alexander had what, one or 2 decent years in TB? 49ers should have signed Earl Thomas. Everybody says “Edge, Edge, Edge”, I say “OL, OL, OL” Just pray that we stay away from Bosa. He (Bosa) didn’t even play his last year of college so he can focus on recovery from a pectoral tear, while I agree with this, drafting a guy with a torn anything will remind me of what’s that GMs name that we fired…….????? Oh Yeah, Trent Baalke. We have Buckner, now Ford (depending on how he adapts to a 4-3), Warner, Alexander (depending on health). KJ Wright would have been a better pick up than Alexander.

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