NFL Media Researcher Anthony Holzman-Escareno constructed “the best NFL team money can buy” in an exercise this week. With some reasonable limitations on the volume of rookie contracts allowed, Holzman-Escareno’s ultimate goal was to build the best team he could piece together using existing cap hits that still fit under the 2021 salary cap.
In the end, he settled on two Green Bay Packers making the hypothetical squad: cornerback Jaire Alexander and receiver Allen Lazard. For reference, the Minnesota Vikings (WR Justin Jefferson) and Chicago Bears (DL Bilal Nichols) had one player represented on the team while no Detroit Lions made the list.
Alexander, who made the Pro Bowl and was named a second-team All-Pro last season, is on the last year of his original four-year rookie deal, adding a cap hit of just $3.83 million to the team. To put the value of his contract into perspective, the Packers had no issue picking up his fifth-year option that raises his cap hit nearly $10 million in 2022.
Here is what Holzman-Escareno had to say about Alexander, who was listed as the team’s third cornerback:
“Alexander is a lockdown man-coverage corner, and he’ll become a household name across the country very soon (if he isn’t one already); only Ramsey allowed fewer yards among 62 corners with 60-plus targets in 2020 (per PFF).”
Lazard, a former undrafted free agent who the Packers stole off of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad in 2018, was tendered as an exclusive rights free agent this offseason and will make $850,000 in 2021, with Green Bay having the option to tender him again in 2022 as a restricted free agent before he can officially hit unrestricted free agency in 2023. Lazard’s 2021 cap hit is less than that of Packers receiver Equanimeaous St. Brown, another member of the 2018 draft class, who is on the last year of a four-year rookie contract as a former sixth-round pick.
Below is the analysis of Lazard from Holzman-Escareno, who listed the Packers receiver as the team’s sixth wideout option:
“Lazard is a 6-foot-5 receiver who played 176 special teams snaps over the last two seasons. He had 254 receiving yards and two touchdowns over the first three games of the 2020 season before a core injury forced him to injured reserve for six games.”
The article also listed others considered, which included veteran running back Aaron Jones, receiver Davante Adams and nose tackle Kenny Clark, as well as rookie contract offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins.
All contract and cap information comes from Spotrac.