A big development in the “will they or won’t they?” saga between the Buccaneers and Kwon Alexander came Tuesday morning from NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
Appearing on 95.3 WDAE in Tampa, Rapoport said the Bucs have offered Alexander a “fairly significant” long-term deal.
“I know that the Bucs have made him a fairly significant offer for a long-term deal, and they’d like him to be a member of the Bucs for a long time. They’re not there yet. He is going to test free agency, but I would say this: the team has gone a long way toward making sure that Kwon Alexander knows that he is in their long-term plans. It doesn’t seem like they’re deterred by the injury. So, I would say though nothing is done yet, there is optimism, at least from the Bucs organization, that this one gets done.”
Alexander has expressed a desire to stay with the Bucs, but has also said he will be testing free agency when it rolls around on March 13. The important thing to note with what Rapoport said is that the team doesn’t see the 24-year-old’s torn ACL as much of an issue. Considering the severity of such an injury, finding the right numbers and length for a contract could be tricky. However, it appears that won’t impact the way the Bucs approach a potential deal.
In four seasons with Tampa Bay, Alexander has racked up 380 tackles (271 solo), 31 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hits, seven sacks, 22 passes defended, six interceptions, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was limited to six games in 2018 due to the torn ACL he suffered on Oct. 21 against Cleveland.
Later on Tuesday, Alexander tweeted — from One Buc Place — what looked to be an encouraging update on his knee:
No limits on me! #UnfinishedBusiness pic.twitter.com/S8ZLVSOzc0— Kwon Alexander (@kwon) March 5, 2019
Of course, now that Donovan Smith has been re-signed to a three-year deal, Tampa Bay could choose to use a franchise tag on Alexander. Such a move would give the Bucs a chance to work out their desired long-term contract while not letting him reach free agency at all. The franchise tag deadline is at 4 p.m. Tuesday.