The first wave of free agency has glided by, and the only notable move the Green Bay Packers have made is the one that kept Aaron Jones in Green Bay. It was a big a move for the Packers, as they were able to shift around enough money to keep one of the most dynamic running backs in the league in Green Bay for the foreseeable future. The running back position is now taken care of for the Packers with Jones and A.J. Dillon spearheading the attack entering 2021. But one glaring need remains at cornerback.
When the decision was made to bring back Jones, it surprised many just because of the Packers’ salary cap situation entering the offseason. That situation consisted of not having any cap space to work with. Bringing back Jones was celebrated, but it also brought on the realization that Green Bay likely wouldn’t be able to do much of anything else without restructuring Aaron Rodgers’ contract (they still haven’t but are trying). The hole at cornerback is even more noticeable now that another position has been taken care of.
Jaire Alexander is one of the best cornerbacks in the entire NFL. You can look at plenty of statistical measures that back up that statement:
Jaire Alexander: 13 games allowing fewer than 30 yards in 2020 (1st)🔒
Is he CB1 in the NFL?! 🤔 pic.twitter.com/8nXjakfnEw
— PFF (@PFF) March 23, 2021
Jaire Alexander can do it all 🔥 pic.twitter.com/lEJq6TsleG
— Packers Nation (@PackersNationCP) March 19, 2021
Jaire Alexander: PFF's Highest-Graded CB of 2020 🥇 🏆 pic.twitter.com/9fWtC0EvQX
— PFF (@PFF) January 4, 2021
What the Packers have outside of Alexander at the position is not so good. Kevin King sputtered throughout his time in Green Bay dealing with multiple injuries throughout the last few seasons. He’s now an unrestricted free agent. Former second-round pick Josh Jackson was a healthy scratch much of the second half of the 2020 season. While he’s still under contract, it doesn’t bode well that the Packers felt they were better off having him inactive while he was healthy much of last year. They put in a tender on restricted free agent Chandon Sullivan, who was good in the slot last year and now should be back this season. But they need more.
Many have clamored for the Packers to go after Richard Sherman. While in theory the idea is nice, it’s still relatively unknown what kind of contract Sherman is seeking and what kind of money he could draw. If the Packers are able to shake free some space and Sherman, who will be entering his age-33 season, is willing to play for a title contender while taking less money, everyone would sign up for that. The idea is great, but how realistic it is, that’s the question.
Another option is Casey Hayward. Hayward was drafted by the Packers and spent his first four season with the Packers before signing as a free agent with the Chargers in 2016. Now at age 31, Hayward is still really effective but not the cornerback he was even just a couple of seasons ago. He’s another option that might be intrigued about playing for a championship contender but would need to take less money given the Packers’ salary cap woes.
Regardless of what the Packers do or don’t do in free agency the rest of the way at the cornerback position, it’s expected that they use an early pick in the NFL Draft to address the glaring need. Jaire Alexander can take away the opposing No. 1 wideout on a weekly basis, but they need a lot more help with the position looking bare outside of him. There are a few good options left in free agency, and now the attention shifts back to Green Bay’s front office to see if they will free up the cap space.