A star is staying in Green Bay for the foreseeable future. Four years ago, the Green Bay Packers drafted cornerback Jaire Alexander with the 18th overall selection of the 2018 NFL Draft; now he is set to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid players at his position.
According to Adam Schefter via Alexander’s agents, the Packers and Alexander’s team are “finalizing” a new contract for the cornerback that will keep him in Green Bay for the next several years. Schefter’s report says that the deal is a four-year extension with $84 million in new money.
That $84 million should come on top of the roughly $13.3 million that Alexander was set to earn this season under the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The Packers exercised that option last April to keep their Pro Bowl corner for 2022, and once the ink is set on this deal he will be locked in through the 2026 season.
Alexander’s deal includes a league minimum base salary of $1.076 million and a signing bonus of $30 million, the latter being a record-high for a defensive back. With the bonus being spread out over the next five seasons, Alexander’s cap hit for the 2022 season could be as low as $7.076 million, with any per-game active roster bonuses and workout bonuses applicable this season increasing that number. If none are present and that value is accurate, the move frees up about $6.2 million in salary cap space for the Packers this season, giving the Packers plenty of cap room to get through this season and enough flexibility to potentially
Why is Alexander setting a new record for average annual value for cornerbacks? One reason is this, from Pro Football Focus:
Jaire Alexander was the most valuable defensive player in the league when he was healthy in 2020 pic.twitter.com/dGfGSFkN9k— Eric Eager (@PFF_Eric) May 16, 2022
In that 2020 season, Alexander made his lone Pro Bowl appearance and was a second-team All-Pro, narrowly falling short of first-team status to Miami’s Xavien Howard and the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey. He only intercepted one pass during the 2020 regular season, but he set a career low in completion percentage allows (51.3%, per Pro Football Reference) and passer rating allowed (67.4).
2021 saw Alexander miss most of the season with a shoulder injury, but he still posted excellent numbers in his limited action. In the Divisional Playoffs, the only game in which the Packers had a healthy trio of Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas on the field together, the defense allowed just six points and 131 passing yards. Now the team has all three of those players under contract for at least the next three seasons and has invested heavily in the defense this offseason with two first-round picks and a long-term deal for linebacker De’Vondre Campbell.