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Kwon Alexander listed as the 49ers riskiest move this offseason

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“An expensive tryout”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Chicago Bears Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Earlier this week we talked about how the San Francisco 49ers were entering their Super Bowl window. One of those reasons listed was from signing speedy linebacker Kwon Alexander.

Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox believes otherwise. Knox recently wrote that Alexander was one of the riskiest moves the Niners made this offseason. The piece was prefaced by saying, “it doesn’t always pay to take risks in football. In today’s NFL, however, playing it safe is often the quickest route to failure.” From there, Knox went into each team’s riskiest move.

Here’s the blurb on Alexander:

Giving Kwon Alexander a big FA deal

Kwon Alexander is one of the NFL’s most productive linebackers when he’s healthy. Over the last four seasons, he’s amassed 380 tackles, seven sacks, 22 passes defended and six interceptions.

This is why the San Francisco 49ers were quick to give him a four-year, $54 million deal in free agency.

The risk with Alexander is his health. He missed four games in 2017 and 10 games last season with a torn ACL. There’s no guarantee he will be back to 100 percent this season, or that he’ll be the same player he was before that devastating injury.

If Alexander does fully recover, then the 49ers got themselves a top-tier linebacker—though certainly not at a bargain. If he doesn’t, then they are essentially giving him a very expensive tryout.

Paraag Marathe and the 49ers front office are well-known for handing out team-friendly deals. Is there a risk in signing a player coming off an ACL injury? I don’t think anyone would argue that. The 49ers needed to add athleticism and energy at the second level of their defense. That’s precisely what Kwon brings to the table.

Looking at the contract and thinking Alexander will receive all $54 million isn’t how this works. Also, not every team has the same amount of cap space. The 49ers can afford to be more aggressive.

Knox is correct in the risk being Alexander’s health. I wouldn’t be worried about a full recovery. There will be some rust, but the concern will be Alexander playing a full-season. The riskiest moves for the 49ers this past offseason were the moves they didn’t make. From the offensive line to the secondary. If the defensive line is as good as Ian Williams thinks it will be, that should offset ignoring the secondary.