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Browns Urged To Sign $54 Million Defensive Linchpin

Kwon Alexander isn't the player he once was, but the one-time Pro Bowler can be the perfect free agent signing for a talented Browns defense
Kwon Alexander Free Agent

Former fourth-round pick Kwon Alexander is no longer a Pro Bowl player, but one outlet believes the free agent could be the missing piece for one of the best defenses in the game. Selected in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the LSU product immediately outplayed his draft stock and earned a full-time starting role as a rookie. After four strong seasons in Tampa Bay, the linebacker spent the next few years bouncing around the league before eventually landing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023. Playing a depth role on one of the league’s better units, Alexander recorded 41 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, two quarterback hits, and one sack in nine games while finishing with an impressive 74.3 PFF coverage grade.

Now a free agent, teams aren’t fighting over the right to sign Kwon Alexander. While his run defense certainly leaves something to be desired, he’s still reliable in the pass game and makes sense as a situational player and veteran mentor. With that in mind, Bleacher Report believes Alexander’s current skillset is perfect for the Cleveland Browns.

[T]he linebacker corps took a hit with the loss of Sione Takitaki and Anthony Walker Jr. Free-agent signees Devin Bush and Jordan Hicks should start alongside Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but there isn’t much depth behind them. Kwon Alexander is a veteran who would fit the scheme and remains unsigned.

Browns Connected To Free Agent Kwon Alexander

Despite starting four different quarterbacks last year, the Browns still found a way to make the playoffs last year. While Joe Flacco’s surprise emergence certainly helped, the team wouldn’t have earned a Wild Card spot without their elite defense. Last year, the team allowed a league-best –0.188 EPA per play on passing downs, but their lone weakness was the linebacker position. Kwon Alexander won’t do much in the run game, but the free agent still excels at dropping into zone and sticking with tight ends. In today’s pass-happy NFL, a skillset like this should be enough to earn the opportunity to fight for a roster spot.

Perhaps the Cleveland Browns will be the only team interested in signing free agent Kwon Alexander. After all, the linebacker is entering his age-30 season and is only a situational player at this point in his career. However, despite his limited ceiling, these five teams would improve with Alexander on the roster.

Other Possible Fits

Atlanta Falcons

After a seemingly endless string of 7-10 seasons, the Falcons signed Kirk Cousins as their short-term fix to the quarterback position. You don’t give a 35-year-old $100 million in guaranteed money if you don’t believe you can win it all, and Atlanta’s offense has the pieces to go on a deep run. The defense, however, could use some help. The Falcons fortified their defensive line during the 2024 NFL Draft but could use more help on the back end. Kwon Alexander is an ideal fit, as the free agent can drop into coverage and provide support for an underwhelming secondary.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are making the most of C.J. Stroud’s rookie window. With their franchise quarterback firmly entrenched, the team spent the offseason adding talent on both offense and defense. While they have the pieces to go on a deep run, they could use some help at linebacker. Azeez Al-Shaair will improve the unit, but Houston’s linebacker depth chart remains one of the weakest in the game. Kwon Alexander might not be a three-down starter at this point in his career, but the free agent should be a good fit for a defense that will likely face plenty of pass-happy offenses in the loaded AFC.

Los Angeles Chargers

Jim Harbaugh has understandably spent most of his first offseason trying to fix the Chargers offense. While he successfully rebuilt the offensive line and threw several darts at the wide receiver position, he hasn’t done much to improve the defense. Losing Brandon Staley is addition by subtraction, but Los Angeles could still use a free agent like Kwon Alexander if he wants to stop the elite tight ends in the AFC West.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers added support for Bryce Young, but this team will probably still need to win games with defense. After striking out on Stephon Gilmore, Carolina could look for creative ways to improve their coverage unit. Kwon Alexander is not a cornerback, but the free agent can hold his own against tight ends and discourage throws over the middle. With Frankie Luvu gone, somebody must emerge as Carolina’s coverage linebacker.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens lost Patrick Queen to the Pittsburgh Steelers, so they might as well steal free agent Kwon Alexander from their longtime division rival. Roquan Smith is still in town, and the two-time All-Pro will remain the top linebacker in this defense. With Smith serving as the centerpiece of the defense, Baltimore can use Alexander in a more limited role that plays to his strengths.

Main Photo: Denny Simmons – USA Today Sports


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