Packers ‘Appear’ to Have Made Call on Trading $84 Million Star

Packers' Jaire Alexander

Getty Packers' Jaire Alexander

The Packers enter the 2024 offseason with a number of questions, especially on the defensive side of the ball. One of them that has lingered is the status of Jaire Alexander, the highest-paid defensive back in the league at $84 million over four years. Alexander’s future was called into question after a Week 18 suspension following his insistence on participating in the previous coin toss despite coach Matt LaFleur’s instructions not to.

GM Brian Gutekunst said that suspension would have no bearing on Alexander’s future with the team. And Jason Hirschhorn of the Packers analysis/news site The Leap says that has not changed.

“Jaire Alexander remains under contract through several more seasons and, after some consternation about his future in Green Bay following a team-issued suspension before a must-have game, it appears the All-Pro corner will return for 2024,” Hirschhorn wrote.

Packers’ Jaire Alexander Battled Injuries in 2023

Still, there is no question that Alexander did not quite live up to the contract he signed in 2022, not last year at least. He was very good in 2022 but injuries limited him last season to seven games, and he had zero interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed 29 receptions on 40 targets, a percentage of 72.5%, by far the worst of his career. He missed six tackles for a miss percentage of 13.6%, one of the worst of his career.

Alexander allowed a passer rating of 113.4, not just the worst of his career but also well above his career rating allowed, which is 82.2.

So there are other reasons to trade away Alexander besides the suspension. His performance was lacking last year when he was on the field, and it was all made worse by the fact that he was not healthy. Alexander missed 13 games in 2021 because of a shoulder injury, and said he was playing through pain in 2023 with back and shoulder injuries.

Part of that is the pressure of his hefty contract, he said back in December.

“I mean, there’s always pressure,” Alexander said, per The Athletic. “There’s always pressure, but I’m the type of person that I always want to put my best foot forward. So I feel like if I can’t put my best foot forward, then it’s just tough to even be out there.”

Defensive Backfield in Need of Upgrades

Assuming the Packers keep Alexander in place, getting him healthy and productive will be one of the top challenges of the offseason. The Packers’ entire secondary is in flux, with three free-agent safeties (Darnell Savage, Rudy Ford, Jonathan Owens) and two young free-agent corners, Kiesean Nixon and Corey Ballentine.

The team is hopeful that Eric Stokes will make a full recovery after missing eight games in 2022 with an ankle injury and finishing last year on IR with a hamstring injury.

But it’s pretty clear that the Packers should take advantage of the depth of good cornerbacks in 2024 NFL draft, and that the team could add at least one top-level defensive back in free agency.

Having Alexander back, healthy and returning to an All-Pro level—he was a second-teamer in 2020 and 2022—is the best initial path to fixing the Packers secondary.

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