Analyzing the role Kwon Alexander will fill with the NY Jets

NY Jets, Kwon Alexander
NY Jets, Kwon Alexander / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

After months of reported interest, the NY Jets officially came to terms on an agreement with free-agent linebacker Kwon Alexander on Thursday.

The Jets originally brought Alexander in for a visit prior to the 2022 NFL Draft and maintained their interest over the subsequent months. Alexander had offers on the table from a number of teams, but he ultimately chose the Jets, likely in no small part due to his history with Jets head coach Robert Saleh.

The former Pro Bowler joins a Jets linebacker corps that was pretty thin upon his arrival. In fact, the linebacker position was (and probably still is) one of the weakest position groups on the team's roster.

Alexander's addition adds much-needed veteran depth to a position that was desperately in need of just that. What role should we expect Alexander to play, however?

Will he be a day-one starter? A rotational sub-linebacker?

What role will Kwon Alexander play in the Jets' defense?

As per ESPN's Rich Cimini, the Jets see Alexander as a veteran who can play both the SAM and WILL linebacker positions. They don't, however, see him as someone who's going to push for a starting role, at least not right away.

C.J. Mosley is obviously locked into one of those positions as a key cog in the middle of the Jets' defense. The other starting linebacker job is reserved for the returning Quincy Williams, someone who the Jets remain very high on.

The Jets see Williams as a player with legitimate Pro Bowl potential and they believe that another year in Saleh's system could help him reach his potential. They didn't sign Alexander to replace him.

Instead, Alexander will fill that third linebacker role and likely rotate in on passing downs as a sub-linebacker. His addition allows younger players like Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen to take a backseat role in 2022.

Without Alexander, the assumption was that Nasirildeen would compete with free-agent signing Marcell Harris for that third linebacker job with Sherwood serving as Mosley's primary backup. Now, that's Alexander's job to lose.

The 27-year-old has struggled with injuries throughout his career and has played more than 12 games in a season just once in his seven-year career. The Jets aren't counting on him to play a full 17-game schedule as an every-down starter.

That said, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Alexander take snaps away from Williams if the latter struggles like he did at times last year.

Alexander was signed to add another veteran to a young Jets linebacker room. He adds valuable depth in the form of a player who not only perfectly fits the team's defensive scheme, but in someone who already has experience working with the coaching staff.

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That's the role the Jets envision for Kwon Alexander. And evidently, that's the role he envisions for himself.