Alexander's release is not surprising since he tore his Achilles in Week 16 and was due $13.4 million this season. But it's not out of the question that the two sides could consider a reunion when he gets healthy. The 26-year-old proved to be a good fit in New Orleans after the Saints traded a conditional fifth-round draft pick to acquire him from the San Francisco 49ers last season.
The NFL Network was the first to report Alexander's pending release.
Alexander appeared to confirm the news in an Instagram post, saying, "Mannnn I had fun with some dawgs ! Thanks @saints for giving me a opportunity to showcase my talents! Everything was live ! Let's see what's about to happen next ! God knows!"
Alexander made the Pro Bowl in 2017 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And he signed a four-year, $54 million contract with the 49ers in 2019 before injuries plagued his time in San Francisco.
The 6-foot-1 227-pounder has 471 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and 7 interceptions in six seasons, with a total of 66 games started.
Alexander won't cost anything against the Saints' salary cap since his $2 million injury guarantee wasn't scheduled to kick in until April. Since he was released before he could pass a physical, he could potentially qualify for a $2 million injury protection benefit down the road if he meets all of the parameters.
The Saints could be on the lookout for more linebacker depth alongside standout Demario Davis now. Alexander was splitting time with Alex Anzalone -- who is an unrestricted free agent. The Saints did draft linebacker Zack Baun in the third round last year, however.
The Saints were hit harder by the NFL's reduced salary cap this year than maybe any other team in the NFL. They began the offseason nearly $100 million over the salary cap and have now released veterans Alexander, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, receiver Emmanuel Sanders, punter Thomas Morstead, tight end Josh Hill and offensive lineman Nick Easton. And, of course, quarterback Drew Brees is expected to retire after 20 seasons.
The Saints did retain safety Marcus Williams, however, by placing their franchise tag on him.