Jets sign veteran LB Kwon Alexander for depth on defense

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Kwon Alexander is reuniting with Robert Saleh and providing the New York Jets’ linebacker corps with a veteran presence.

The 27-year-old Alexander signed a one-year deal with the Jets on Friday, a move that came after the team worked him out during the offseason.

“He’s a ball of energy, great leadership,” Saleh said a few hours before the signing was made official when Alexander passed his physical.

Alexander spent last season and part of 2020 with New Orleans after 1 1/2 years in San Francisco with Saleh as his defensive coordinator. He was drafted in the fourth round out of LSU in 2015 by Tampa Bay, where he played his first four seasons. Alexander was selected for the Pro Bowl after his third season in 2017.

“Love him,” Saleh said. “Obviously, we have the history in San Francisco, but he’s a special young man.”

With the Jets, Alexander’s versatility was appealing in that he can play both the weakside and middle linebacker spots. The Jets currently have C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams pegged as starters at inside linebacker but otherwise have a lot of youth and inexperience in the middle of the defense.

Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood, converted college safeties coming off injuries as rookies last year, are options, as are Marcell Harris, Del’Shawn Phillips and DQ Thomas.

“We’ll see where he’s at,” Saleh said of Alexander. “He obviously wasn’t here for OTAs. We’re going to work him up the next two days — today and tomorrow — and just see where he’s at so we can set a schedule for him next week.

“But no expectations, except to do what he always does, which is bring a lot of juice, lot of energy, plays his absolute tail off, and we’ll let day by day go and see where it ends up.”

Alexander has 521 tackles, 12 sacks, eight interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, 43 tackles for losses and 32 passes defensed in 78 career games, including 74 starts.

Linebacker Javin White, signed last December off Las Vegas’ practice squad, was released to make room on New York’s 90-man roster.

NOTES: LT George Fant (knee) and WR Braxton Berrios (undisclosed) were held out of team drills for the second straight day. They participated in individuals drills, and Saleh said the two should be able to fully practice next week. … Rookie TE Jeremy Ruckert, a third-rounder from Ohio State, is “getting closer” to being able to practice, according to Saleh. Ruckert is on the non-football injury list after hurting a foot before the draft. “I know our training staff felt like there was a mini breakthrough here in the past week,” Saleh said. “We’ll see how things progress for the remainder of the weekend.”

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