Not even two hours after it was announced that the Seattle Seahawks had signed former Eagles DE/LB Marcus Smith, Seattle has also traded away linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who was entering the final year of his rookie contract. KPL is headed to the Kansas City Chiefs, and in exchange the Seahawks get DJ Alexander, who is listed as a linebacker but really excels as a special teams player, making the 2017 Pro Bowl (replacing Matthew Slater, who played in the Super Bowl).
For those who want to know more about Mr. DJ, here’s a quick blurb from Joel Thorman over at Arrowhead Pride:
“The Seahawks are getting a Pro Bowler out of this trade as Alexander was in Hawaii after last season for his work on special teams. That's who he is: an ace special teamer. He had little to no role on the Chiefs defense so I'm not sure how much you can expect there but he played inside linebacker when he did. He stood out on a special teams unit that is annually among the league's best.“
Kansas City was 2nd in special teams DVOA last year, with the bulk of that ranking earned through their excellent kick and punt return game. Alexander is a third-year pro out of Oregon State who was drafted in the fifth-round, so he still has two more years left on his contract. This already looks like a good trade for both linebacker depth and to bolster Seattle’s special teams, which already features solid play from another ex-Chief in Neiko Thorpe.
As for Pierre-Louis, it’s just never worked out for him in Seattle. Drafted in round four back in 2014, KPL failed to establish himself with the coaching staff as worth consistently inserting into the team’s defensive rotation. His lone start came in 2015 when Bobby Wagner was injured and couldn’t play in the team’s home loss to the Panthers. Otherwise most of his snaps have been on special teams, and unfortunately this (sketchy) penalty against him in the playoff defeat to Atlanta last season, thus wiping out a huge Devin Hester punt return, proved to be an enormous game-changing infraction.
In case you’re wondering, KPL’s departure means that Paul Richardson, Justin Britt, and Cassius Marsh are the only Seahawks from the 2014 NFL Draft who are still with the team.