Report: 49ers 'likely' would have traded Kwon earlier if healthy originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The 49ers reportedly traded linebacker Kwon Alexander to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso and a fifth-round draft pick on Monday, but it appears San Francisco has been looking to move on from Alexander for a long time.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported after the Alexander news broke that the 49ers "likely" would have traded Alexander after Super Bowl LIV if healthy. But Alexander underwent biceps surgery in February after the Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Niners likely would have traded Kwon Alexander after the Super Bowl last year, but he ended up having surgery. Now that he’s healthy, they do it now. Shed the salary and move on. https://t.co/M74BwATLHr
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 2, 2020
Alexander signed a four-year, $54 million contract in March 2019, and dealt with a myriad of injuries in his short time as a 49er. He tore a pectoral muscle halfway through last season and miraculously returned for the playoffs. But he was then playing through a biceps injury in the playoffs.
This season, Alexander has missed the 49ers' last three games with a high ankle sprain. The main factor in trading Alexander now clearly is monetary. San Francisco sheds around $2.5 million of Alexander’s pay for the remainder of this season. The 49ers will pick up half of Alonso’s $1.7 million salary, who is a free agent after this season.
The trade is about much more than this year, though. Along with adding a draft pick, the 49ers wipe Alexander’s scheduled pay of $12.65 million and $12.75 million the next two years.
General manager John Lynch was ready to move on from the linebacker, and this seems like a win long-term for the 49ers.