GREEN BAY – From the beginning of this offseason, the Green Bay Packers knew it would take nothing less than record money to retain cornerback Jaire Alexander.
They also knew the pressure was on to reach a deal early, avoiding another Davante Adams situation. The closer Alexander got to next spring, the more expensive his next contract was likely to become.
The Packers secured their best defensive player Monday morning, signing Alexander to a four-year, $84 million extension that includes a record $30 million signing bonus, a source confirmed to PackersNews. The new deal pays Alexander an average of $21 million annually, surpassing Cleveland’s Denzel Ward ($20.1 million) and the Los Angeles Rams’ Jalen Ramsey ($20 million) to become the highest-paid player at his position in NFL history. Alexander will receive $31 million in 2022 and $45 million in the first two years, a source said. The 2018 first-round pick is now under contract with the team through 2026. If the Packers only guaranteed Alexander’s signing bonus, which is their customary practice, the $30 million would rank 12th in the NFL among corners. Ward ($44.5 million) and Ramsey ($43.7 million) top NFL cornerbacks in fully guaranteed money. That Alexander played only five games last season, including just eight snaps in the Packers’ playoff loss to San Francisco, did not dissuade general manager Brian Gutekunst from offering record money. Alexander missed the rest of the regular season after dropping out of a Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of an AC joint injury in his right shoulder while tackling running back Najee Harris in the open field.
A year earlier, Alexander was one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks, earning second-team All-Pro honors. At only 25 years old, he remains one of the league’s brightest young corners.
A deal will ease Alexander’s likely move to the nickel position this fall. With Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes joining Alexander atop the depth chart, the Packers have a trio of cornerbacks best suited for the perimeter. Alexander is the only corner among the three with the skillset to regularly play inside, but slot corners don’t receive top money.
Now there will be no financial side to consider with a move to the slot. The only question is how many nickel snaps Alexander will receive this season.
“He’s so valuable,” Gutekunst said, “because they can move him anywhere. I imagine that Joe (Barry), and it’s really a question for Joe, it’s really going to be a game-by-game depending on what is best for us. Because he can shadow, he can play on the outside, lock guys down. He can move inside. He can do it all.”