© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
This Christmas was a brutal one for Kwon Alexander. The former 49ers sparkplug linebacker suffered a reported torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season and possibly the next on the day he and the New Orleans Saints notched an NFC South title.
It’s devastating news for a player who was beloved in the San Francisco locker room. He was credited as playing a big brother role within the team and had a spectacular first half of last season before tearing his pectoral. Before his trade to New Orleans, he was playing his best football of the season.
The 49ers traded him to the Saints for Kiko Alonso and conditional fifth-round pick, which was guaranteed for 2022, but which would convey for 2021 if Alexander hit certain playing benchmarks.
According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports, Alexander hit those benchmarks, giving the 49ers an extra 2021 draft pick. That leaves the 49ers with eight draft picks in the upcoming draft, missing their own third-rounder (traded to Washington for Trent Williams), but securing the Saints’ fifth and the New York Jets’ seventh (they gave away a 2022 sixth-rounder in the trade for Jordan Willis).
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) December 26, 2020
Since joining the Saints, Alexander started in all seven possible games, playing 350 defensive snaps. Prior to his season-ending Achilles tear against the Minnesota Vikings, he’d played all 69 snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14, and 88 snaps (90 percent) against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 49ers are also likely to get another two third-round picks, assuming defensive coordinator Robert Saleh gets a head coaching job, as he’s expected to, this offseason. Per new NFL rules on diversity hiring, the 49ers would be rewarded with a compensatory third-round pick in 2021 and 2022.