Why New Orleans Saints Won The Kwon Alexander Trade

The 2020 trade deadline, comparatively to others, was one of the least eventful ever in terms of big-name trades.  Only 2 relatively major trades were made throughout the few days before the deadline. One of which involving Derwin James and the other involving Kwon Alexander.  In this article, I will be focusing on the Kwon Alexander trade. Also, I will state why the New Orleans Saints were the winner of that trade.

The Trade Itself

The trade for Kwon Alexander was made the day prior to the NFL trade deadline, which was November 2nd.  It was first announced by ESPN reporter Adam Schefter in the following tweet:

In the end, the trade ended up involving the Saints receiving LB Kwon Alexander. In return, the 49ers got a return of LB Kiko Alonso and a conditional 5th round pick.  While some may ask why the Saints decided to get another linebacker when they already had one in Alonso. This leads us to the first reason the Saints won this trade.

Kiko Alonso’s prior injury history

Kiko Alonso is an extremely talented linebacker, just to get that out of the way immediately.  The issue that has been developing since even before his time with the Miami Dolphins is that he is extremely prone to knee injuries.  Last year Alonso tore his ACL, which some people may write off as just another football-related injury and is not due to his past.  But that is where they are wrong. This is now the third time in his 7 year career with a torn ACL.  His playstyle has been seen to lead to this type of injury. He plays at an extremely fast pace and has very shifty lateral movements which sometimes catch up to him.  

Trading Alonso away from the Saints is something that has been inquired about before, and after only spending a year with the team, his tenure has come to an end.  He could look to rebound with a 49ers team that is currently also absolutely annihilated by injuries. That could give him a chance to rest until next year.  

How this helps the Saints now

Ever since the beginning of the 2020 season, the Saints have been all in on this season.  This is their Superbowl or bust season, there is no other option for them.  Going 78 million dollars over the max cap limit after this year, many changes to contracts will need to be made, including moving on from some players.  So right now the Saints are looking to bulk as much talent together as they can, regardless of the cost.  Getting Kwon Alexander this year will only run them about 1 million dollars in cap room. This is because the rest of his contract sticks with the 49ers in dead money.  It is the ultimate win-now move, get a cheap contract, and trade away someone who would likely not have an impact this year for your team.

Overall Kwon Alexander is very much an upgrade from Alonso, as he is on a much better injury timeline, and is believed to be much more proficient within the Saints system.  While this has yet to be seen, I do not doubt that at all.  Tackling is something the Saints have struggled in recently, so bringing in a good coverage and tackling LB is a fantastic fill to that hole.

What about the draft pick?

The 5th round draft pick the Saints gave up in the trade is very interesting for both teams.  This is because it is a Conditional draft pick, which means based on how Kwon performs will determine who gets the pick.  Kwon would have to play a certain amount of snaps for the Saints as well as make certain predetermined requirements stats-wise and starts wise for the pick to go to the 49ers.  If he does not reach these goals?  It will stay as a Saints pick and they lose nothing in this trade draft capital wise. 

This pick is basically a failsafe for the Saints in this situation.  If Kwon turns into the elite LB we know he is and shows it on the field, they lose the pick but gain that talent level.  If he turns out to be an utter bust?  You only gave up an injured Alonso for him which would not have helped you this year anyways.  It is truly a win-win for the Saints.

Overall, the Saints have nothing to lose in this trade and essentially got an extremely talented linebacker to fit their needs for a possible pick and an injured player.  If Kwon turns out to be anything near what he was in the first 5 weeks of the 2020 season we could be looking at a much more consistent Saints defense than in weeks past.

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