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49ers to sign LB Kwon Alexander

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They’ve found a partner for Fred Warner.

Cleveland Browns v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Fooch’s update: The deal reportedly includes $27 million guaranteed. Since we know that won’t be all fully guaranteed, we’ll continue waiting for more numbers to get a better handle on this deal.

The San Francisco 49ers appear to have a running mate in place for second-year linebacker Fred Warner. The team is set to sign linebacker Kwon Alexander, per Pro Football Talk. Ian Rapoport is reporting the deal will be four years and worth $54 million.

Alexander just wrapped up his rookie contract on a down note, tearing his ACL in Week 7 of the 2018 season. He was cleared to return to jogging in late February, and would be behind Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon in the rehab process.

Alexander is a great run stopper with solid coverage skills (per PFF), but that’s certainly a bold contract to replace the big contract they gave to Malcolm Smith. On a strictly per-year basis, that would be the second highest contract on the team — for the time being. They could pass that if they sign Earl Thomas, but for now, Alexander is the big signing of free agency.

The 49ers entered free agency with nearly $66 million in cap space, so that’s certainly not an issue right now. They could trade for Odell Beckham and Dee Ford and still have room to play with if they were going to get particularly aggressive. But even still, that’s a bold decision given the ACL injury.