I think the only place Alden is gravitating towards is the grave! He’s just been shown like a good guy again, after being quite annoying and judgemental for a while, and we all know what focus and mini redemption forecasts for minor characters. Wasn’t this the first time Negan and Alden even talked to one another on the show? I’d add to your first thought about Negan respecting Rick, that I think he respected Michonne even more. Wouldn’t you agree? And I think he certainly has a lot of respect for Daryl.