Kwon A “Must?”

February 18th, 2019

Keep, but at what price?

Joe doesn’t envy Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht’s job in the coming weeks.

There likely will be a productive starter off the roster this fall. Joe doesn’t know if that will be Gerald McCoy (not a free agent), Donovan Smith, Adam Humphries or Kwon Alexander.

Maybe more than just one will be gone?

Yeah, the Bucs have a salary cap crunch. Licht started clearing room last week by releasing Vinny Curry. Up next should be DeSean Jackson, Beau Allen and Will Gholston (Joe would keep Gholston if he re-did his contract).

In the mind of Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report, the one free agent the Bucs cannot afford to lose is middle linebacker Alexander.

Alexander’s last two seasons have been cut short by injuries, including an ACL tear six games into the 2018 season. But the 24-year-old’s rehab is reportedly progressing well, and in his last full season with the team in 2016, Alexander ranked fourth in the NFL in total tackles with 145 and led the league with 108 solo stops.

When healthy, Alexander’s one of the better young inside linebackers in the game.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for Alexander, who has had just one full season in his four-year career. And in his last two seasons, Alexander called plays for one of the worst defenses the NFL has seen in its near 100 years.

Look, Alexander has every intangible you want in a player. But as former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter often said, it’s a production business. A middle linebacker calling plays for one of the most rotten defenses in league history, well, that just doesn’t add up.

Joe is all for keeping Alexander, but coming off knee surgery and the stain on his resume of the last two years, let’s just say the rumored asking price for Alexander at $10 million a year is ridiculous.

48 Responses to “Kwon A “Must?””

  1. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Franchise D. Smith, keep GMC for 1 more year and draft Devin White. a better MLB on a rookie contract. Are you going to pay Kwon 10 mil and David 9 mil?

  2. Bird Says:

    He is worth closer
    To 5 , 6 mil. 7 tops.

    He can’t stay healthy. Plus he misses on so many plays /tackles
    Now. He deserves better coaching like Jameis … like Donovan sanity and others. Bowles would put him in best situation.

    You just can’t overpay for a guy that can’t play entire season. We are paying to much for average play. Period

  3. AlteredEgo Says:

    Explain the strategy of “tagging” Donovan Smith…what would the team do in 2020 when not only would the GM be faced with Smith….Jameis if he is brought back would be signing a HUGE contract with big signing bonus….IMO lock in Smith this year with a new long term deal

  4. BUC55 Says:

    Is Kwon really that good? Obviously he’s a good athletic linebacker with good speed, and seems like a energetic team player. However, he clearly lacks durability. He also reminds me a little of Barrett Ruud, making a lot of tackles 5-10 yards downfield. Not a lot of impact plays (especially compared to LVD who makes many more), has trouble getting off blockers, and has marginal impact in pass coverage. I also see him fill the wrong gap frequently. Devin White is much stronger and significantly tougher and more talented Mike linebacker, and would be much cheaper. More like Luke Kuechly,
    less like Barrett Ruud.

  5. BucsFIRE Says:

    I am definitely on the side of wanting to FIND A WAY to keep Kwon Alexander on this football team.

    Yes we all love his intangibles, yet there have been some deficiencies in his game.

    I truly believe his best football is in front of him, and better coaching can turn him into a tremendous defensive asset for many years.

    I prefer for it to be RIGHT HERE as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

  6. BringBucsBack Says:

    If by “must” he meant the Bucs “must” not overpay then, I agree.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Thanks for tackling this one head-on Joe. Kwon’s got talent, no question, but not as a middle linebacker. In the Bucs’ defense of these past several years, MLB was a critical position, and Kwon underwhelmed there. He took himself out of plays too easily by ‘guessing wrong’, and he all too often got blocked out of plays too easily. His pass coverage ‘left something to be desired’ IMO, as did his tackling at times (having lots of tackles when opponents are constantly running through your zone … for a reason … isn’t a feather in a MLB’s cap IMO).

    And since he was the play-caller on one of the worst NFL defenses, I’m very suspect of his talent in that area. Specifically, was he calling timely adjustments at the line to reset HIS defense? DC’s can’t do that for you at the line; that’s where the defensive FIELD GENERAL earns his keep IMO. And I personally think that ‘lack of timely adjustments’ was a major part of the defense’s problems last year.

    Still, wouldn’t mind re-signing him because he does have talent, but at a very team-friendly price & for relatively short term. Beckwith is such an unknown right now I’d be really hesitant to pencil him in as a starter.

  8. Buccaneerscotty Says:

    He’s no must we don’t even know if he healthy!

  9. Joe Says:

    However, he clearly lacks durability. He also reminds me a little of Barrett Ruud, making a lot of tackles 5-10 yards downfield.

    Let’s not get carried away. Ruud and Alexander are far different linebackers playing completely different positions.

    Fans get upset that Ruud was making tackles downfield. Joe has two responses: So he wasn’t supposed to make tackles downfield and let dudes run for touchdowns? And Ruud was a Tampa-2 middle linebacker. Those guys aren’t and never were supposed to be Dick Butkus/Ray Lewis-like linebackers.

    Ruud, however, was not a physical, blow-your-arse-up MLB that Kwon is. Two completely different linebackers.

  10. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    This is Arian’s team. Cut the fat and start afresh. I thought the defense improved without Kwon.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Would love to keep Kwon……but $$$

  12. Joe Says:

    Explain the strategy of “tagging” Donovan Smith…what would the team do in 2020 when not only would the GM be faced with Smith….

    Just because a guy is tagged doesn’t stop a team/player from negotiating a new contract.

    Jameis if he is brought back would be signing a HUGE contract with big signing bonus…

    Wrote this before: am not convinced Jameis signs a big contract with the team next season. With the CBA expiring after the 2020 season, thinking the Glazers may wait to see how that shakes out before (likely) signing Jameis to the richest contract in team history. It easily might be a smart financial move in the short term to franchise Jameis for 2020 and then see what happens with the new CBA. Nobody knows what that will be like.

  13. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Ego, we dont have to sign Winston next year. He we are still on the fence after this year we can franchise Winston next year before his second contract. That give BA 32 games to evaluate Winston.

  14. BUC55 Says:

    Joe says, “Ruud, however, was not a physical, blow-your-arse-up MLB that Kwon is”

    Anyone else here see Kwon as a “blow-your-arse-up MLB”?

  15. RODNEY J ALLEN Says:

    No Alabama the defense got better without Mike Smith! Kwon just happened to get hurt around the same time

  16. The Coroner Says:

    Give him a prove-it health incentive contract.

  17. NPRSageBoy Says:

    If they release McCoy as expected, who will Kwon dance with?

  18. rrsrq Says:

    We could do a lot worse…, these Bucs fans wanted Joe Dirt as our starting MLB. Kwon grit and speed are difficult to replace with an unknown

  19. Kalind Says:

    He gets less than Lavonte or he walks. It’s that simple unfortunately. When you hit a grand slam in the draft, this is the problem you develop. Esp when you’ve had to over compensate in FA by overpaying for average players.

  20. Waterboy Says:

    They definitely need to find a way to keep Kwon but 10 mil is a pretty steep asking price. I read the Jenna Laine article but can’t see him getting a multi-year contract north of 10 mil coming off of a knee injury. I’d offer him 8 mil on a 1 or 2 yr prove it deal and let him hit the open market to see if he can beat the offer.

  21. Not there yet Says:

    Still a fly buzzing around someone’s face is less annoying than you stupid hot take that the defense got better when Kwon got hurt. The guy running the defense makes all the difference. Kwon, David and Beckwith are the only linebackers worth mentioning which is why they are the only ones mentioned. 7 seasons for Lavonte and he’s only played full 16 games seasons 4 times, 2016 was the last time he played a full season.

    Lavonte signed a five year deal worth $50.25 million with $25.56 million guaranteed in 2015 so what kinda of contract is Kwon expecting compared to that. It’ll be more because of inflation of contracts 25 mil guaranteed was an amazing deal for David and no one cares about the cap because the team had garbage players at the time. Kwon get off the high horse and back to reality if your expecting to sign some market setting deal

  22. BFFL Says:

    3-4 Roster:
    DL: JPP, Vita, Ed Oliver
    OLB: Nassib, Spence
    ILB: LVD, Beckwith or FA
    Safety: whitehead, evans
    Corner: Davis, Draft pick or FA

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Joe, don’t you think salaries will go up after a new CBA is agreed upon?

    AlteredEgo has a decent point.

    And to me, Kwon is worth more than Lavante David, who is making $8,000,000. If not for the injuries at LB, I would be all for trading David. At this point, both he and McCoy need to rework their deals.

    But assuming David stays at $8m, then paying Kwon $1-2 million more is not a big stretch.

    Re-sign the great players. Re-structure the good veterans you want to keep. Trade players who won’t restructure or move on.

    Release the players who have been surviving on unmet potential. That alone would free up $60,000,000 (before re-signing our free agents).

    And there will be no need to franchise Smith if a deal gets done in time. That means the tag could be applied to Kwon if needed…but it would be about $3m cheaper to just re-sign him.

    Then, so far as UFAs, Licht can make sure their contracts allow him to free up space next year so the cap issue is handled if they don’t work out.

    $60,000,000 would be easy to clear up before the bell rings.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Kwon is worth more than David…so $10m is reasonable at today’s prices. Still, just because Drew is starting off at $10m, that doesn’t mean he will end up with it.

  25. admin Says:

    Joe, don’t you think salaries will go up after a new CBA is agreed upon?

    Sure, salaries never decrease but what about all the other stuff? What might be the new salary cap(s)? You know, how many guys can be franchised? Could there be an NBA-like CBA where QBs (for example) don’t count against the cap, guaranteed salaries, all sorts of stuff that no one has any idea about? Those examples are just scraping the surface.

  26. TexBuc Says:

    No way pass

  27. 813bucboi Says:

    first, kwon is playing out of position…..he should be an OLB and beckwith should be the MLB….

    second, he does have durability issues but he is a good player….wouldnt break the bank on him but i think he’s worth about 4-5mil a year…..

    lastly, im not going to hold him being the “caller” of the worst defense…lol…smitty was calling the worst defense in the league 2years in a row…..kwon was just doing what he was told…lol….

    folks had a problem winston saying he stopped listening to coaches(while his play improved) but want to hold kwon responsible for listen to a coach who got fired because he was horrible…..


  28. Frank Pillow Says:

    Devin White > Kwon Alexander.

  29. TOM Says:

    I would give Kwon 5-6 mil 1year prove it deal. Keep LVD, Spence, Cheap & possibly Beckwith. The rest of LB’s I could care less.

  30. Buccernutter Says:

    Yes I see Kwon as a blow your arse up type of linebacker.

    -josh mccown

  31. tmaxcon Says:

    Keeping key members of one of the most embarrassing and least effective defensive units in NFL history is absolutely asinine and the pure definition of insanity…. only a bucfan develops emotional connections to career losees with more excuses tha a Clinton.

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    @813bucboi … “smitty was calling the worst defense in the league 2years in a row…..kwon was just doing what he was told…lol….” That’s a cop-out bucboi. Smith was calling the defense but not ADJUSTMENTS (that’s a No-No). Once the defense is called, it becomes a game of cat-and-mouse, and YES, the defensive signal-caller needs to be calling ADJUSTMENTS. When you’re the signal-caller on a terrible defense, it’s not much of a stretch to conclude that the defense isn’t doing a very good job of adjusting to what the offense is doing.

    I know that it’s an unprecedented thought to hold anyone on the Bucs ACCOUNTABLE for the team’s poor performances on the field other than the coaches, but I’ve got confidence in you. You can do this.

  33. Buccernutter Says:

    I’m about over Joe insinuating all players struggled cuz of the system but Kwon struggled because of his play.

    The dude got hurt the game Duff started calling plays. And he balled.

    Come on Joe.

    But but but it was one game….sigh

  34. Pickgrin Says:

    “(fill in the blank) played on one of the worst defenses in NFL history….” – so the obvious conclusion is that he can’t be very good or isn’t worth much….

    Yea – that line Joe keeps using in relation to Buccaneer defensive players is for sure getting old!

  35. martini view.PasteboardItems/martinii.jpgaelmartin/Desktop/MISC/martinii.jpg /var/folders/l4/q5cdtwk12b72z_1z3qmbjhkh0000gn/T/ Says:

    IMO the problem with Kwon is the injury and only the injury. I agree with “Defense Rules,” he was doing what he was told and based on his performance he was successful at working under Smith’s and Duffner instructions. As I have stated many times there is a new game in town and I anticipate the whole defensive scheme will change. Unfortunately we have cap problems but if the knee is 100% i think he is a keeper.

  36. Jean Lafitte Says:

    At least Kwon works his tail off unlike the fixing to be overpaid Donovan Smith.

  37. 813bucboi Says:


    how is that a cop out?…..

    when winston said he stopped listening to coaches, he got killed for it….folks said he shouldve continued to listen….you said he “burned the ‘Trust Bridge’ with every coach that he’ll ever has from here on out….even tho his play improved from ignoring the coaches….

    kwon listens to the man responsible for having the worst defense in the league not 1 but 2years in a row and its his fault….that laughable….thats not holding smitty ACCOUNTABLE…..

    our defense was trash in 2017 but kwon made the pro bowl…..did we have a solid defense then?….hell no!!!!!….did he listen to smitty back then, yes….

    hold smitty accountable for having a trash defense and making our players look just as bad…..


  38. Jarod Says:

    You can not blame Alexander for calling plays , he does not draw them up. If we knew that he was calling the wrong plays or that if he was putting guys out of position then I would say he is responsible for a really bad defence , at least some what…but he was not Mike Smith, and he can only calls the plays that were given..i like Alexander and believe he has room to get better. Put him in Bowles defence and see what he can do..not at 10 mil tho

  39. Loyaltotheend Says:

    Not sure who fans over hype more, Jameis or Kwon…

    Outside of JPP no defender is worthy of the 10 million range in pay

  40. jerseybuc Says:

    Overrated. Looking to be overpaid. Guy doesn’t have the instincts to play the middle. He is always out of position and getting outfoxed by misdirection. This team has zero gap integrity and when we do make a stop it is after a 5 yard plus run.
    I agree with Dewey, draft young Devin White and give this D a re set. We can’t reward Kwon and David, both would be making an avg of $10 million a year, on a D that was in one of the worst 5 or 10 in the league.

  41. BucsFIRE Says:

    Not sure which JBF poster is over hyped more…
    Loyaltotheend or AlteredEgo

  42. Figures Says:

    I think kwon May be the most overrated player on the team.

    He takes terrible angles and misses tackles.

    He’s not as good as people make him out to be.

    Definitely not worth what he wants. Gets hurt every year and misses games.

    He’s a star on a historically bad defense. Wouldn’t resign unless it’s cheap.

  43. BigBucKy13 Says:

    Let Kwon walk, keep GMC and draft Devin White in the 1st. Problem sovled.

  44. martinii Says:

    All depends on knee surgery

  45. Buc4evr Says:

    Kwon= hype. He is just not that good, let him walk.

  46. Loyaltotheend Says:


    I appreciate the hype but I’m just a loyal season ticket holder in 312 hoping for some W’s

  47. BucsFIRE Says:


    I hear ya man, and on that we agree and hoping for the same.
    Sorry for the cheap shot just because we disagreed on something.

  48. SRQMike Says:

    Bucs need to take a look at Shaq Barrett. Solid performance with the playing time of a starter. Can play inside and out. Better and bigger than Kwon. Experienced in both 4/4 and 3/4.