GREEN BAY, Wis. – All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander will be at next week’s mandatory minicamp after skipping the first two weeks of the voluntary organized team activities.
Alexander, the team’s first-round pick in 2018, is entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal. That has a base salary of $2.123 million, making him greatly underpaid considering his rise to one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL. In 2022, he’s scheduled to play under the fifth-year team option of $13.294 million. Both seasons’ base salaries are fully guaranteed.
Presumably, the Packers would like to work out a long-term extension with Alexander to not only ensure he remains with the team for several years but reduce his 2022 cap number. Green Bay is $31 million over a projected cap of $208.2 million, according to OverTheCap.com. Alexander’s option gobbles up 6.4 percent of the cap.
Alexander went from all-rookie as a first-round pick in 2018 to Pro Bowl alternate in 2019 to outright Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2020.
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Now, what can the 24-year-old do for an encore?
“The thing I’ve told him is his biggest problem is going to be him,” defensive backs coach and defensive passing-game coordinator Jerry Gray said last week. “Right now, you’re sitting on the top of the mountain, you’re one of the top corners in this league, how do you get back there? There’s going to be steps that you have to take to get back there. It’s not easy because everybody is going to be go at you now. He has to be ready. He has to fight being an All-Pro. And that means, ‘Can I go out there and do it again?’”
According to Pro Football Focus, 78 corners played at least half of the passing snaps in 2020. He ranked sixth with 15.1 snaps per reception, third with 0.64 yards per snap and fifth with a 68.3 passer rating, according to PFF. He intercepted one pass and broke up 13, down from two picks and 17 passes defensed in 2019, but quarterbacks were much less willing to throw his way. Sports Info Solutions had Alexander giving up a paltry 40.6 percent completion rate. That was the lowest in the NFL among starters, according to SIS.
Alexander was at his best at the end of the season. In Week 16 against Tennessee, he allowed 1-of-5 passing for 10 yards. In Week 17 against Chicago, he allowed 3-of-5 passing for 7 yards. In the divisional win over the Rams, he allowed 1-of-2 passing for minus-3 yards. In the championship game against Tampa Bay, he allowed 1-of-5 passing for 19 yards and two interceptions.