Among the Uncertainty, You Can Count on a Jaire Alexander Extension to Free Up Cap Space

There are a lot of unknowns for the Green Bay Packers this offseason, but one sure-fire way you can expect them to create cap space is via an extension for Jaire Alexander.

I imagine that you are more than well aware that the Green Bay Packers find themselves in a salary cap bind this offseason--and perhaps that's putting it mildly.
 
At the moment, Over the Cap has the Packers at $50.7 million over the projected 2022 cap. However, that's only the starting point. That $50.7 million figure doesn't factor in the costs for the incoming draft class, the practice squad, any in-season spending, the 52nd or 53rd players on the roster, not to mention any re-signings or free-agent additions.
 
So yeah, you get the idea, the Green Bay Packers will have to clear more than just that $50.7 million.
 
Now, if you're looking for some positive news, the Packers have plenty of ways to go about doing this, whether it be via contract restructures, extensions, veteran cuts, or even a trade--you know who I'm referring to. 
 
Restructure candidates include David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones, and Kenny Clark. Extension candidates could be Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Amos, Billy Turner, Preston Smith, and Jaire Alexander. Then the cut candidates are Turner, Amos, Smith, Za'Darius Smith, Dean Lowry, and Randall Cobb, among others.
 
The question, however, is which of these moves are the Green Bay Packers going to make? There are plenty of cap-saving options, as mentioned above, but a lot of the mystery surrounding this offseason is that we don't know what those moves are going to be. How much of this 2021 roster can be retained for 2022?
 
While I don't have that specific answer for you -- no one does -- I am here to tell you that one sure-fire move the Packers will make to create a decent amount of cap space is by extending Jaire Alexander. 
 
Unforuntately, Alexander would play in only four regular-season games in 2021 after suffering a shoulder injury against Pittsburgh. But prior to that, he had developed into one of the best cornerbacks in football, and was named a second-team All-Pro in 2020 after allowing a completion rate of 48.7 percent on 76 targets at only 9.5 yards per catch, according to PFF. Alexander would also record three interceptions, 14 pass breakups, and a passer rating of 54.3 that year.
 
As a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, Alexander has four years of NFL experience under his belt, and as a former first-round pick, the Packers have a fifth-year option for the 2022 season. They, of course, exercised this option last May before the deadline to do so.
 
The salaries for these fifth-year options are performance-based, and given Alexander's play, he is going to make $13.294 million in 2022. And because the fifth-year option is essentially just a one-year deal, that entire $13.294 million has to be recognized on the books this season--meaning Alexander currently has a $13.294 million cap hit. 
 
That's where the contract extension comes into play because there is a zero percent chance he plays this season on his current deal. When it comes to extensions, there is the obvious which is that Green Bay will keep Alexander in a Packers' uniform beyond the 2022 season, but it will also lower his 2022 cap hit as well--something that we know is greatly needed. 
 
With an extension, Green Bay will add new years on to the contract, and oftentimes, a good chunk of the new money is paid to the player as a signing bonus--aka cash. Players like signing bonuses because it's cash upfront that they receive, and teams like signing bonuses because they can spread that cap hit out over the life of the contract instead of incurring the entire cap hit in that current season.
 
On top of that, a portion of the $13.294 million base salary that comes with Alexander's fifth-year option can also be converted to a signing bonus, again allowing Green Bay to spread the cap hit out over the entire contract, thus lowering the current year's base salary as well as the cap hit.
 
To get an idea of what this might look like, salary cap guru Ken Ingalls would recently mention that the Green Bay Packers can make Alexander the highest-paid cornerback in football and still save over $6 million in cap space this season. 
 
Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Green Bay Packers this offseason, not only with Aaron Rodgers' future but how the team navigates all of these salary cap hurdles. But as we wait to see how it all unfolds, one move you can bank on, and it could be one of the first moves made, is an extension for Jaire Alexander.

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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7 points

Comments (24)

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Coldworld's picture

February 04, 2022 at 11:28 am

Yes. One of the few probably unanimously supported and positive ways of lowering the cap and improving our roster long term.

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PhantomII's picture

February 04, 2022 at 11:43 am

JA missed 15 games...15 games in which he played a few token snaps in the last playoff game. Most bones heal in 4-6 maybe 8 weeks.
We are talking 15 weeks. Whatever the prognosis is JA needs to be 100% back before he is even considered for a big contract. We don't want to see Gute make the same mistake he made signing our LT for highest paid at position and getting hurt before NFCC game and missing over another year because Gute learned the hard way not to resign in-season player who are market setting players. I would definitely have language of games played as an incentive. I like JA but I'm also okay rolling with stokes and Douglas just like the majority of this year. I would not set the market with his contract either. Top 10% current salary sounds right if proven healthy. I don't want any player saying they want to be highest paid anything...It's a red flag. Not a TEAM concept.

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jhtobias's picture

February 04, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Thankfully your not running the packers. Bak got hurt after his extention so your in invalidated yourself.

Jaire is 24 is an all pro at a premium position and to trade him would be a sure way for gute to get fired. He was their first round pick.

As for Rasul he did A fantastic job , but it was for 10 games so to replace jaire with Rasul is crazy.

You need to be better

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PhantomII's picture

February 04, 2022 at 12:19 pm

READ OVER. BAK was signed in-season...AKA....early...before season was over. Gute had time to get the deal done...and I would not have made it market setting deal anyway and you wait until the season is over because now you are paying 23 million for the LT to ride the bench....Again not too hard for most people to understand.

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dobber's picture

February 04, 2022 at 01:20 pm

"JA missed 15 games...15 games in which he played a few token snaps in the last playoff game. Most bones heal in 4-6 maybe 8 weeks."

The healing time on broken bones depends on what you break and how severely you break it. In the case of Jaire, the nature of his injury was never really disclosed, but it was some kind of connective tissue (or both) injury in the shoulder--some speculate that there might have been some nerve damage that needed extra time to heal--and we don't know if there were setbacks when he was on IR. They were very tight-lipped on his progress from the time they said he would be trying to rehab and avoid season-ending surgery. On top of that, he tested positive at the end of the season, and we have no idea how serious that was.

"Whatever the prognosis is JA needs to be 100% back before he is even considered for a big contract."

He was back on the field for the playoff game, meaning--unless he goes under the knife during the off-season--he's probably good to go. The Packers won't have the kind of luxury you're talking about with JA or with Jenkins. Maybe they wait into the 2022 regular season on both, but they're hard up against the cap, and need to make moves. Those two need to be re-upped, and they need to be kept away from FA. In all likelihood, they come cheaper before next January than they will after.

"Gute learned the hard way not to resign in-season player who are market setting players."

The case of Bakhtiari was different. He was healthy, he was on an expiring contract, and the Packers were on the clock to try to keep him off the free agent market. By writing his contract early, they could bring some of his cap hit against the 2020 cap where they had some cash they could throw at it. It's also a contract that--in how it's structured--I don't think they intended for him to finish as written. It was an "ARod window" contract.

On top of that, the failure of the Jason Spriggs project pushed them into a hole WRT the LT position. I have no problem with the timing and nature of the extension, and most people wouldn't if he didn't happen to get hurt--in practice--during week 17. Players get hurt in-season and players get hurt out of season (case in point, Z). It's just how it goes.

" I would definitely have language of games played as an incentive."

Many of these guys have per-game incentives in their contracts. For most, that's easy money. The bottom line is that you either keep a young all-pro at whatever the negotiated value is, or you let him go and get a pittance in return. JA will be in his prime at CB for another 4-6 years. Easily in the range of his next deal. Pay the man, and do it in a way that preserves as much flexibility both on his deal and with overall roster management as possible.

"I like JA but I'm also okay rolling with stokes and Douglas just like the majority of this year. "

Then you're not a very good GM. We're way too enamored with Douglas--a guy who couldn't stick on an NFL roster and had bounced around until he landed in GB. Maybe he continues to play well at boundary corner, and I hope he does, or maybe the issues he's had in the past with outside speed and playing in space downfield finally get targeted and he turns back into the guy that the Eagles and others decided they didn't need to keep around. His track record is against him that way. Frankly, I want all 3 guys if it's reasonable. In this case, it's not JA's contract I'm concerned with, it's Douglas'.

9 points
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PhantomII's picture

February 04, 2022 at 01:52 pm

JA 2019 PFF grade overall 75...2020 PFF #1 90+...2021 75 for 4 games. JA projected by PFF to fall 10 pts. minimum as
NO CB has top performing year with such a jump and ever maintains it as seen. Projected healthy PFF grade of 75-85. Top 10 or 15...we will see and hope for the best case. I'm biased I guess. I don't like how JA runs his mouth about how great he is. I like players like Jenkins who humbly say "THE LORD" has blessed them with skills and abilities to perform at a high level. Something that will undoubtably help Jenkins recover and a place I hope JA is able to get to. GPG

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justjan's picture

February 04, 2022 at 04:04 pm

Ever hear of confidence?

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PhantomII's picture

February 04, 2022 at 04:59 pm

Matthew 23:12 Whoever exalts himself...will be humbled and those who humble themselves.... will be exalted.

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PeteK's picture

February 04, 2022 at 04:22 pm

A CB needs more than the lord's blessing when playing in the NFL. It's probably the toughest position mentally because of the rules.

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HarryHodag's picture

February 05, 2022 at 06:34 am

JA is considered by nearly everyone a top 3 corner. The injury he sustained is not permanent. While you can let an aging QB and overpriced WR go, to let this opportunity go with Alexander is nothing short of nearly criminally stupid. Sign him long term AND get cap relief?

Oh, about the LT...when he was in there against Detroit did you notice that no one got anywhere near Rodgers? Just sayin'.

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PhantomII's picture

February 05, 2022 at 11:43 am

JA had 1 incredible year so far and was not having one before hurt this year. He has overall top 10ish numbers.
Being hurt 15 games from a tackle attempt on a 220 lb RB could completely change his aggressive nature. He is good and proud...maybe it gives him an edge but I think the more he talks...the more money he wants. If you read our LT explanation on why it took so long to come back...it is eye opening as nobody heals the same way. His injury has had profound ramifications on the team to include Jenkins out of position and injury to himself that we will still feel deep into next season. I hope JA injury is not an even longer term issue physically. I think I would make sure he is back and operating in the 85% PFF are before long term deal is reached. It's their money...

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mnbadger's picture

February 04, 2022 at 12:36 pm

Paul, can you share the details of the potential contract Ken Ingalls lays out above? GPG!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 06, 2022 at 03:07 am

I read Ken Ingalls' twitter nearly every day. I don't think Mr. Ingalls ever provided details. He did write at least $6M.

The 5th year is $13.294M. The min. base salary is 1.035M, so that leaves $12.159M to play with. If you pay $12.159M via a signing bonus spread over 5 years, the proration is $2.432M plus the min. of $1.035M for a cap number of $3.467M. Savings would be $13.294 - $3.467M = $9.827M.

$10M SB plus $3.294M base = cap # of $5.29M.
$9M SB plus $4.294M base = $6.094M cap number.

If he gets $22M per year, that's $88M plus $13.294 for 2022, a total of $101.294. $25M signing bonus = $5M plus minimum of $1.035 would be $6.035M, a 2022 savings of $7.059M. Give him $30M signing bonus and it is $6.059M in savings.

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egbertsouse's picture

February 04, 2022 at 02:56 pm

There is no uncertainty. Jake and Elwood are puttin’ the band back together. Apparently, it’s the only strategy Gutey and Ball know. They are working on monster deals for Rodgers and Davante as we speak. Kicking the old cap can down the road. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

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jhtobias's picture

February 04, 2022 at 05:02 pm

Is this confirmed ? If so please link confirmation where you got this

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HarryHodag's picture

February 05, 2022 at 06:30 am

Fantasy football. All fantasy. No football.

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HarryHodag's picture

February 05, 2022 at 06:29 am

Sorry, it can't be done again. The Packers have hit the financial wall and 'kicking the can down the road' isn't possible. After you sift all the variables it's fairly simple math.

The only deals the Packers are looking at is how much can they get from other teams for both of them.

The Packers could end up with a draft haul comparable to the old Dallas-Minnesota trade for Herschel Walker.

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relleum61's picture

February 05, 2022 at 08:20 pm

True, numbers don't lie. A deal to clear cap space and keep a young talent like JA makes sense since GB need to clear roughly $50 to $60 million to operate at the cap level for the 2022 season. However to get a DAL-MN Herschel type trade you need a team that is both delusional (thinks they are only one player away) and desperate (never won anything). We can only hope:)

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jurp's picture

February 04, 2022 at 05:16 pm

Why can I see 12 comments when I'm not logged in and only four when I am logged in, even though the splash page shows 12 comments? I know the mods are trying to fight the spammers, but I'd rather ignore spam posts than be prevented from reading/responding to the comments.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 04, 2022 at 07:10 pm

Do you have "fan friendly only" selected when you are logged in? Some of these comments are really fing bad today.

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bjkdad44's picture

February 04, 2022 at 08:14 pm

mine says (16) but I don't see 16!

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Fubared's picture

February 04, 2022 at 06:16 pm

okay humor an idiot with a finance degree.
your 72.2 mi over cap with Adams tag. So your restructuring all the contracts of 1/3 of the team ( free agents) and these guys all will take less? Or offered more but spread out?
I know you can like rent appliances or furniture to own but by the time the contract expires the furniture is shot. I see this as the future of the pack.
Very poor fiscal magmt IMO.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 04, 2022 at 07:15 pm

You are spreading the money out in terms of signing bonuses. There are probably other devices that may work. Roster bonuses (e.g. JA gets a big roster bonus in 23). If you read up on this stuff I'm sure you can figure it out. You've got a finance degree.

https://www.si.com/nfl/chiefs/gm-report/the-art-of-nfl-contracts-part-4

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 05, 2022 at 12:54 pm

Oh, and don't confuse the NFL salary cap with personal finance. It ain't that. FWIW though, the Packers have historically been very smart about the cap. The fact that they are in such a bad position for 2022 tells you how hard they were trying with Rodgers' window closing in 2021.

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