Jaire Alexander roster bonus key to CB’s Packers future, sources say

Jaire Alexander roster bonus key to CB’s Packers future, sources say

The Green Bay Packers’ long-term decision regarding the future of Jaire Alexander is expected to revolve around the $8 million roster bonus owed to the star cornerback on March 20, league sources told ESPN.

The Packers suspended Alexander – the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback – one game for conduct detrimental to the team after he appointed himself a captain for last Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers and participated in the coin flip.

Alexander will miss Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings but is expected to return for Green Bay’s regular-season finale next weekend against the Chicago Bears.

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.

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There are other factors at stake for the Packers, who prefer that their players participate in their offseason program in Green Bay, which Alexander hasn’t done. He surrendered a $700,000 workout bonus last spring to skip the Packers’ offseason program and work out in Florida instead.

Green Bay also must consider Alexander’s injury history; he has missed nine games this season – three because of a back injury, then another six contests because of a shoulder injury. Alexander returned last week in Carolina, only to be involved in the coin toss fiasco that led to his suspension for Sunday’s game against Minnesota.

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Packers coach Matt LaFleur called Alexander’s coin-toss gaffe “a big mistake” but emphasized that the suspension has nothing to do with Alexander not being able to play because of injuries.

Alexander, who grew up in Charlotte, walked to midfield before the game with the Packers’ three captains – Aaron Jones, Quay Walker and Eric Wilson. The Packers did not elect season-long captains this year, instead using a weekly rotation. Alexander called tails and won the coin toss, then said the Packers wanted to be on defense, which is not the same as choosing to defer their choice to the second half.

Referee Alex Kemp could have taken Alexander’s call to mean the Packers wanted to kick off, which then would have allowed Carolina to receive the ball to start both halves. But because LaFleur, in the pregame meeting with the officials, informed Kemp that Green Bay would defer if they won the toss, Kemp clarified that Alexander wanted to defer.

Alexander did not express any remorse or regret after the game, saying it was “only suiting” when asked why he joined the captains for the coin toss and adding that he didn’t think LaFleur “knew I was from Charlotte.”

The Packers signed Alexander to a four-year, $84 million contract extension in May 2022 in a deal that made him the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history in terms of annual average salary, and he still holds that distincion.

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.

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A two-time second-team All-Pro, Alexander has four pass breakups but no interceptions in six games this season.

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.