GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — Shortly after news broke, the full-professional cornerback Jay Alexander On Monday, he agreed to a record-breaking contract extension with the Green Bay Packers, but one of his teammates took to Twitter to ask back.
“What wins a championship,” Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith post.
The defense really played a role last season, edging the San Francisco 49ers ninth overall in January’s NFC divisional playoff loss without a single offensive touchdown.
It’s also how the Packers may have to win in the backcourt —Aaron Rogers Era – whether it’s one year or three years.
What champion 👀
— Preston Smith (@PrestonSmith94) May 16, 2022
Either way, general manager Brian Gutekunst seems to agree with Smith.
Consider all the moves he does to strengthen that side of the ball:
A four-year, $84 million contract makes Alexander the highest-paid defensive back in the NFL.
Bringing in a Veteran Defensive Tackle Jalan Reed A one-year, $3.25 million deal.
Signature cornerback Rasul Douglas Three-year, $21 million deal.
Signed linebacker Devon der Campbell to a five-year $50 million deal.
Renew Smith for four years, worth $52.5 million.
Use his 2021 first-round pick for a defensive player cornerback Eric Stokes.
“I think we’re excited about it,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said recently about his defense. “But…you have to recreate the magic we’ve done, and any year is different.”
Gutekunst moves on from outside linebacker Zadarius Smithreleased him in March, which helped free up salary cap space for a number of other moves.
“I would say our expectations for the entire football team, especially our defense, are really high,” Gut Const said after the draft last month. “I think they played really well last year, they ended up on a very high pitch and played at a very high level. We have some guys coming back and they’re going to be here for their second year and be big. I love this The way the group grows together. It’s a new season and they have to put in the work, the time, the chemistry and all the things that go with it, but I think the expectations are going to be high for this team.”
Alexander was one of the key members of the group.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Alexander is the closest defender of his career with a 55.5 completion percentage. It’s the eighth-best player in the NFL with at least 250 goals from the closest defender since 2018.
He seemed perfectly suited to play wherever defensive coordinator Joe Barry needed him last year. One of Barry’s featured positions on the defensive end is what he calls the “star” position, which is essentially cornerback. Alexander’s shoulder injury that knocked him out after four games last season (his return to the playoffs) prevented Barry from exploring further. But with Alexander’s shoulder healed and his long-term future stitched up, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Barry move him more.
“He can shadow, he can play outside and lock down players, he can move inside, he can do it all,” Gut Const said earlier in Alexander’s offseason. “So I think it’s probably a game-by-game, but that’s probably what we’re going to have when we come down this season.”
While Packers offense appears to be on shaky ground after receiver trade Davante Adams For the Raiders, the defense looks in place.
“The more playmakers we can have on the defensive end,” Preston Smith said last month, “the greater the opportunity. [it] will increase our success. “