Packers: Extending Jaire Alexander should be first action this offseason

Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers have 29 days to clear roughly $50 million of salary cap in order to meet the NFL’s cap requirements for the new league year.

Over the next month, they will encounter countless tough decisions and awkward conversations including but not limited to restructures, releases and even the franchise tag.

One decision that shouldn’t require a ton of thought is extending Jaire Alexander. It’s a win-win situation — Alexander will in all likelihood become the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, and the Packers will save somewhere between $5-8 million on their 2022 books by spreading Jaire’s cap hit over a number of years.

Alexander is coming off a season where he missed 13 games due to a shoulder injury sustained on a tackle he made back in Week 4. Jaire also has a slight history of hand and knee injuries, but none of this should cause the Packers to hesitate for even a second at the negotiating table.

Extensions can take time. Unlike contract restructures, they require two sides to come to an agreement on a variety of different terms, which can take weeks. In the case of Davante Adams, he and the Packers were unable to meet an agreement after an entire offseason of negotiations.

It’s unclear whether or not the Packers have sat down with Alexander’s agents yet. Of course they don’t need to figure this extension out until this time next year, but I’d be very surprised if the Packers are willing to eat Jaire’s $13.3 million cap hit entering the upcoming season which spawns from his fully guaranteed fifth-year option.

Cornerback is increasingly becoming one of the most essential positions in football. In the Super Bowl, Bengals cornerback Eli Apple was picked apart by Cooper Kupp on the Rams’ game-winning drive, while on the opposite side Jalen Ramsey was able to neutralize Ja’Marr Chase for the majority of the contest.

Ramsey’s five-year, $100 million contract is the bar which Alexander will be hoping to exceed. Fellow premiere cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marshon Lattimore also received five-year deals earning just a shade below Ramsey at $97.5 million and $97 million respectively.

Expect Alexander to receive slightly North of the $20 million APY mark that Ramsey is at currently. The ever-cautious Packers may choose to secure the 25-year-old on a four-year deal as opposed to the standard five, which is what the Buffalo Bills did with their star cornerback Tre’Davious White. On the other end of the spectrum, I really can’t see the Packers agreeing to a six-year deal.

With Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes in town for at least the next four seasons, the foundation of the Packers secondary looks pretty strong.

If unrestricted free agent Chandon Sullivan isn’t back next year, the Packers may opt to finally shift Alexander into the nickel role where he can combat evasive slot receivers and get more involved in the run game as he is a terrific tackler.

Of course a decision must be made on Rasul Douglas too. A trio of Douglas, Stokes and Alexander would form one of the best cornerback rooms in the NFL from the outset.

This pairing played only five total snaps together last season, all coming in the defensive clinic against the 49ers in the NFC Divisional round.