The Bucs traded up four spots in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft to select an outside linebacker from LSU to fill their sam linebacker spot in Kwon Alexander.
He ended up practicing some middle linebacker during training camp, and on August 17, 2015 was giving the starting middle linebacker spot beating out newly signed free agent Bruce Carter.
Since he was a diamond found in the fourth round he signed a very small 4 year deal worth $2,758,322 with only $478,322 guaranteed.
His rookie year he made an immediate impact totaling 93 tackles, two interceptions, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovered before being suspended for the final four games of the season.
His second season was his official coming on to the scene party leading the team with 145 tackles (with an NFL leading 108 solo tackles), one interception (pick-six), three sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovered.
Based on his production he is vastly underpaid, making a total of $734,580 this season and $824,582 in 2018 or $45,911 per game this season and $51,536 per game next season.
Despite being the twelve linebacker selected in the draft out of 37 linebackers, including three first round picks, he has out produced all of them in almost every category with more tackles (238), interceptions (3) and forced fumbles (3). He ranks third in sacks behind Bud Dupree and Eric Kendricks (6), and second in fumbles recovered behind Ramik Wilson (2).
What is Kwon worth as the team’s starting middle linebacker with his numbers from the last two seasons?
Well for reference, Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Christian Kirksey who was drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft became a fulltime starter last season and had 143 tackles, 2.5 sacks, zero interceptions, and zero forced or recovered fumbles. Kwon had 145 tackles, three sacks, one interception (pick-six), one forced fumble, and one fumble recovered.
Per career Kirksey has played in 48 games, has 277 tackles, eight sacks, and zero interceptions, and three total forced/recovered fumbles, compared to Kwon’s 28 games, 238 tackles, six sacks, three interception, and five total force or recovered fumbles.
Why I am referencing Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey? Because on May 30th 2017 he signed a four year $38,000,000 contract extension worth an average of $9,500,000 annually with $20,000,000 guaranteed, and making him the fourth highest paid middle linebacker.
Meaning that $9.5 mill is likely the starting point for Kwon’s contract?
In August of 2015 the Bucs signed Lavonte David to a five-year $50,250,000 deal with $25,556,418 guaranteed giving him an annual average of $10,500,000 which will be near what Kwon gets if he has another great season. So should the Bucs put $20 million into the two players on the linebacker group?
I believe so because Kwon and Lavonte are that good and other teams have given two great linebackers $10,000,000 annually such as the 49ers with Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman.
Kwon Alexander signs new deal May of 2018 for five years $51,000,000 for average of $10,200,000 annually with $26,010,000 guaranteed.