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Packers, Alexander Agree to Contract Extension

The All-Pro cornerback is contractually tied to the Green Bay Packers through the 2026 season with an extension that created significant salary cap space.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The man they call Ja-Money was just shown the money by the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers and Jaire Alexander have agreed to a monster contract extension, a win-win agreement between the All-Pro cornerback and the franchise. The deal, which was agreed to on Sunday and came together quickly after the draft, keeps Alexander tied to Green Bay through the 2026 season, according to a source.

As reported by ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Monday morning, it is a four-year extension that’s worth $84 million. Between a $30 million signing bonus and a minimum-salary base salary of $1.076 million, Alexander will collect a bit more than $31 million this year.

Critically for the team, the contract gets Alexander off the fifth-year option. A first-round pick in 2018, Alexander was set to play the 2022 season for a guaranteed $13.294 million. That full number was on Green Bay’s salary cap. The extension will take some of the sting out of that number.

In fact, according to a source, the extension created a bit more than $6 million in cap space for the upcoming season. According to OverTheCap, the Packers were about $10.8 million under the cap. The contract gives the team the flexibility to get through the season and perhaps add another mid-priced veteran.

Agent John Thornton bided his time and let the cornerback market crystalize this offseason so the Jalen Ramsey contract, signed in September 2020, was no longer an outlier. Among the cornerbacks to sign extensions was Cleveland’s Denzel Ward last month. That contract, according to OverTheCap.com, made Ward the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL at $20.1 million per season.

The $21 million average of the extension beats that number.

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Members of what should be a strong defense approved of the news.

Coming off an All-Pro season in 2020 that he capped with two interceptions of Tom Brady in the NFC Championship Game, expectations were high for the talented, charismatic and physical Alexander to somehow lift his game to another level in 2021. Voted a team captain, Alexander might have done it, too, if not for the shoulder injury he sustained while trying to tackle Steelers running back Najee Harris during the second half of their Week 4 game. He missed the rest of the regular season and returned to play eight snaps in the playoff game.

In four games, he allowed a 46.7 percent completion rate, according to Sports Info Solutions. That marked his third consecutive season of less than 50 percent and a four-year total of just 49.2 percent. He intercepted one pass, an incredible play at San Francisco in which he left his man and picked off a deep ball to tight end George Kittle. He did give up two touchdowns, which is as many as he yielded in 15 games in 2020.

“Obviously, that injury was really unfortunate,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said before the draft. “Big injury. Was really proud of the way he came back there at the end, would’ve loved to have seen how our defense evolved through the playoffs with him playing more and more snaps. Obviously, Jaire’s a premier corner in the National Football League. We’d like to keep him around here for a long time.”

Expectations will be astronomical on that side of the ball. Alexander, who is only 25, missed most of last season with the shoulder injury. In his place, the Packers found a star, fellow cornerback Rasul Douglas, on Arizona’s practice squad, then kept him in free agency. The Packers also found a star linebacker in De’Vondre Campbell and kept him in free agency, too.

Alexander, Douglas and 2021 first-round pick Eric Stokes could form an elite cornerback trio. Plus, in the first round of last month’s NFL Draft, the team fortified the group by selecting linebacker Quay Walker to pair with Campbell and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt to join Pro Bowler Kenny Clark.

Whether he’s playing on the perimeter or in the slot, Alexander will be a huge key to the defense reaching its potential.

“It’s probably going to be game to game depending on what’s best for us because he can shadow, he can play on the outside and lock guys down, he can move inside, he can kind of do it all,” Gutekunst said during the draft.

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