The NY Jets hadn't necessarily been shy in their pursuit of linebacker Kwon Alexander over the last few months. The team brought him in for a visit prior to the 2022 NFL Draft in April and maintained contact with him in subsequent months.
It all finally came to a head last Thursday when the Jets officially signed Alexander. The Jets wanted a veteran linebacker who could not only provide further depth to a thin position group, but someone who also knew the system.
Alexander fit the bill. But what did Alexander want? As it turns out, he wanted the Jets, at least over a couple of other teams who also had interest.
The 28-year-old revealed on Monday that he turned down offers from the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints to sign with the Jets, due in no small part to his prior relationship with Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
Alexander explained that Saleh personally called him to recruit him and that he was impressed with the work the Jets did this offseason. Those are the reasons he provided as to why he ultimately signed with the Jets.
The Robert Saleh connection helped the NY Jets land Kwon Alexander
A fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Alexander has spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, and, most recently, the New Orleans Saints.
He's battled injury issues throughout his career, but when healthy, Alexander has proven to be a very talented and productive linebacker. The LSU product is a former Pro Bowler and is tailor-made for the Jets' defensive system — a system he is very familiar with.
Alexander's time with Saleh in San Francisco has prepared him for success with the Jets and it's helped him quickly acclimate this summer. Saleh praised Alexander earlier in the week and the seven-year veteran has made a strong first impression.
It says something that the Jets were able to land a talented player like Alexander with other teams interested. The Jets didn't pay Alexander an exuberant amount of money either — in fact, it's very possible that he would have received more from other teams.
Alexander has a base salary of $1.12 million in 2022 with just over $150,000 in guarantees. It's hard to imagine that the Giants and Saints weren't willing to pay that or more.
Instead, Alexander likely signed with the Jets for non-monetary reasons. That's a massive win for a franchise that has been forced to overpay for the services of external players for over a decade now.
Call it the Robert Saleh effect. Call it Joe Douglas working his magic again. You can even call it a brand new era of Jets football. Whatever the case, Kwon Alexander is a Jet, and it's not because they offered the most money.