The NY Jets continue to monitor the market of free-agent linebacker Kwon Alexander, but at this time, no deal appears to be in sight. If Alexander doesn't return, the most likely internal replacement for him is former fifth-round pick Jamien Sherwood.
ESPN's Rich Cimini recently reported that Sherwood is the "front-runner" to replace Alexander in the Jets' starting base defense after he received the majority of offseason reps in that role.
The Jets have shown interest in re-signing Alexander, who played 49 percent of the team's defensive snaps last season. Alexander did take an official visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers last month, but to this point, there's been no word of an agreement being reached.
It's still possible that the Jets bring Alexander back at some point, but if not, Sherwood is the odds-on favorite to replace him and take on a larger role in 2023.
Should the NY Jets trust Jamien Sherwood to replace Kwon Alexander?
Sherwood was thrust into a prominent role early in his NFL career. Due to injuries, the former Auburn standout started four of his first five games as a rookie before a torn Achilles cut his season short.
Sherwood looked like a considerable work in progress in his rookie season, as was to be expected for a 21-year-old Day 3 starting at a position he didn't play in college. There were always going to be growing pains.
The Jets' linebacker corps was extremely healthy in 2022, so Sherwood didn't really see the field much. He played just 25 defensive snaps, although he was a core special teamer.
It might have been a small sample size, but Sherwood was impressive in limited defensive action. He racked up a ridiculous 10 tackles in those 25 snaps, earning a 79.1 Pro Football Focus grade. He also didn't miss a tackle all season.
Sherwood has shown flashes in the past, and it's seemed evident that the Jets have been grooming him to take over for C.J. Mosley in the future as the team's MIKE linebacker. That said, trusting a player who's played just 164 defensive snaps in a starting role is undoubtedly risky.
Alexander was quite possibly the Jets' second-best linebacker last season. He excelled against the run and played an important role in the Jets' starting defense. He's not an easy player to replace.
The reality is that Alexander, despite how much he seemingly wants to return to the Jets, is simply asking for more than the team is willing to pay. Maybe that changes. The closer we get to the start of the season, the more likely it is that Alexander's asking price comes down and he does return.
But for right now, Jamien Sherwood is your expected Week 1 starting strong-side linebacker. The Jets seem confident that he can adequately replace Alexander if need be.