The San Francisco 49ers dished out big money for former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander this offseason, giving him four years at $54 million earlier this offseason. This, despite Alexander suffering a torn ACL last year.

As a result, Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox tabbed it as the Niners' riskiest move heading into 2019.

"The risk with Alexander is his health," Knox wrote. "He missed four games in 2017 and 10 games last season with a torn ACL. There's no guarantee he will be back to 100 percent this season, or that he'll be the same player he was before that devastating injury.

"If Alexander does fully recover, then the 49ers got themselves a top-tier linebacker—though certainly not at a bargain. If he doesn't, then they are essentially giving him a very expensive tryout."

At the same time, San Francisco is known for handling its contracts very smartly. While Alexander's free-agent deal made him the highest-paid linebacker in the league the moment it was signed, it's usually prudent to wait for the contract details to emerge first, as the team's chief contracts negotiator, Paraag Marathe, is among the best at structuring player deals.

This is the case with Alexander, whose deal is front loaded to the tune of $10.25 million guaranteed in 2019.

If Alexander ends up not panning out after this season, the 49ers could part ways entering 2020 at a dead-cap hit of just $3 million with over $10 million in cap savings. Alexander's cap hits decrease the following two years, too.

From that vantage point, San Francisco didn't exactly take a huge risk. Was Alexander's contract a bit of an overpayment? Perhaps. But given what the market turned out to be for free-agent linebackers, namely what the New York Jets gave C.J. Mosley (five years, $85 million), Alexander's deal ends up not looking too bad.

Especially beyond 2019.
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.