Despite coming off of a 33-30 win in Week 16, the news surrounding the Green Bay Packers this week has been anything but positive. At 7-8, the Packers have a real shot at making the NFL Playoffs if they win their remaining two games, but that has been far from the focus on the team this week. Following the win, many were focused on the poor defensive play-calling of embattled defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
As questions about Barry’s job security have mounted, so too have negative reports about defensive players. De’Vondre Campbell is not playing again this week after posting on social media that, from now on, he will not play through any injuries. Eric Stokes was placed on injured reserve yesterday for the third time this year (including preseason) and his NFL future is in doubt beyond his rookie contract.
Perhaps the most concerning story, though, is the suspension of two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander. Earlier this week, the Packers announced that they were suspending Alexander for their Week 17 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings for conduct detrimental to the team. While head coach Matt LaFleur told the media that “it’s never just one thing,” the decision came after Alexander appointed himself a captain against Carolina and took the field for the coin toss.
In the days that have followed, many have wondered what the future holds for Alexander within the Packers’ organization. Many want the team to move on from the two-time Second Team All Pro via trade or by flat out releasing him. However, this course of action would be a huge financial mistake.
A Recent ESPN Report on the Green Bay Packers and Jaire Alexander Was Misleading
On Saturday, a report from ESPN regarding an “$8 million decision” the Packers were facing regarding Alexander, who is the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history in terms of average annual salary, was making the rounds. In the report, Adam Schefter wrote:
“But his $8 million bonus now is expected to become the trigger point that likely will lead the Packers into a decision on whether to they want to keep Alexander or move on from him. Should they keep him, the Packers simply would pick up the option bonus, but Green Bay also could explore a trade…
“But in the opinion of some sources around the league, the Packers cannot be pleased with how often Alexander has been inactive or about his behavior last Sunday, making his roster bonus a central issue. Alexander is scheduled to make $16 million in salary and bonus in 2024. If the Packers cut him before March 20, the dead money would cost the Packers more than $3 million against their 2024 salary cap.”
The salary numbers that Schefter uses are not wrong or inaccurate by any means. However, they have been taken completely out of context and do lack a certain level of understanding of how the Packers do business.
Trading or Releasing Jaire Alexander Would Cost the Green Bay Packers Close to $30 Million
The fact of the matter is that the $3 million number Schefter uses is a little misleading by itself. What he really means is that if the Packers were to trade or cut Alexander, it would cost them $27.5 million in 2024 in dead money as opposed to paying him $24.5 million to play.
June 1, the start of the new league year, is often looked at as an important date surrounding transactions like this because moves made before or after this date can affect multiple seasons’ salary caps. If the Packers were to release or trade Alexander before June 1, that $27.5 million cap hit would be felt entirely in 2024, a year in which Green Bay is also expected to eat $19 million in dead cap by moving on from David Bakhtiari.
If the Packers were to trade or release Alexander after June 1, it would create an $8.4 million dead cap hit in 2024, but the remaining $19.1 million would be a dead cap hit in 2025.
Do Not Expect the Green Bay Packers to Part Ways with Jaire Alexander
To put it plainly, the Packers cannot trade or release Alexander without taking a massive dead cap hit. His potential $27.5 million dead cap hit would be the fourth-highest in NFL history and the highest for a non-quarterback.
In other words, it is not going to happen. LaFleur stated earlier this week that Alexander will be a part of the franchise for years to come. That wasn’t just lip service; it is a reality. As expensive as their star cornerback may be, his contract is also too expensive to move.
Let’s hope a probable change at defensive coordinator helps resolve all the issues, both on and off the field, the Packers are having on defense.