Tampa needs to bring back Kwon Alexander to avoid taking any steps back in 2019.
The Buccaneers defense was one of the most porous in the NFL last season.
There has been a lot of talk about why this defense was so bad. Injuries; playing too many rookies; the defensive scheme. Those are all valid reasons.
As the coaching staff and Jason Licht try to improve the defense, the Bucs are in no position to just let one of their best defensive players walk away.
Starting middle linebacker Kwon Alexander is an unrestricted free agent and can sign wherever he’d like.
When healthy, Alexander is one of the best middle linebackers in the league. The one big knock on Alexander is the fact that he has missed eighteen games since he came into the league in 2015 and just can’t stay on the field consistently.
In 2018, Alexander was on pace for a monster season when he was projected for 120 tackles before tearing his ACL in Week 7 against the Browns.
With Alexander out, the run defense suffered, especially when Lavonte David went down with an injury of his own.
The linebacking group was hit hard by injuries during the season and, at one point, the trio of starting linebackers featured Devante Bond, Cameron Lynch, and Adarius Taylor, which is a group that is not going to strike fear into any opponent.
Alexander has had seasons of 93, 145, and 97 tackles in 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively.
Alexander has also been dubbed as the heart and soul of the Buccaneers defense. He is the quarterback of the defense calling the defensive alignments and is the leader of this group.
The Bucs must do whatever they can to re-sign Alexander to a new contract. When a defense is as bad as this Buccaneers unit was last season, an organization just can’t let this kind of talent walk out the door.
Alexander will not come cheap. According to the sports contract experts at Spotrac, Alexander will be in line for a five-year deal worth $51 million with an average annual value just north of $10 million.
He is worth every dime.
Alexander has proven to be one of the elite middle linebackers in the league (when healthy).
Alexander, David, and Kendell Beckwith form a formidable linebacking trio that ranks in the top five of the 32 total linebacking units in the league.
Alexander will also be hurt by not being able to work out much this offseason, with the exception of rehabbing his injury. This is certainly not ideal as Todd Bowles, the new defensive coordinator, will be installing a new defense.
Alexander suffered the injury in October and a torn ACL usually comes with a nine-month recovery period; that would put Alexander back on the field at some point during training camp in mid- to late-July.
The first order of business when the new fiscal year opens in March should be to sign Kwon Alexander to a long-term contract. This will solidify this group of linebackers for years to come.
It will also send a message to the rest of the team and the fanbase that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are serious about winning and getting this team turned around quickly.
The Buccaneers will have a lot of tough roster decisions to make this off-season. Bringing back Alexander should not be one of them as they should do whatever it takes to keep him in central Florida.