Packers Elgton Jenkins & Rashan Gary Next in Line for Big Pay Days

Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC Divisional Round at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC Divisional Round at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

It wasn’t a matter of if, but rather a matter of when, when it came to the Green Bay Packers and Jaire Alexander coming to an agreement on an extension. There was zero chance that the Packers were ever going to let Alexander hit free agency–contracts of this magnitude just simply take time.

Two other members of this Green Bay Packers team who fit a similar mold to Alexander as they are also in-store for big paydays are Elgton Jenkins and Rashan Gary.

Both are members of the Packers’ 2019 draft class, with Jenkins in the final year of his rookie deal while, as a first-round pick, Green Bay exercised Gary’s fifth-year option for the 2023 season, and that comes with a cap hit of somewhere between $10.9 million and $11.7 million.

Jenkins is a unicorn along the offensive line, with the ability to not only play all five positions but to be a legitimate Pro Bowl-caliber player at each as well. In his three seasons, Jenkins has aligned at every offensive line position and allowed just three total sacks and only six quarterback hits, according to PFF ($$).

"“He’s one of the best in the game and he’s so versatile, and his value, it’s hard to quantify,” Matt LaFleur told reporters last summer via"

The majority of Jenkins’ NFL snaps have come at guard, but we saw last season prior to his injury that he is a more than capable left tackle, and it would appear that once he is healthy, he is going to be the Green Bay Packers right tackle moving forward–which means he is going to want to be paid like an offensive tackle.

Heading into the 2022 season, Trent Williams has the highest average annual value (AAV) among offensive tackles at $23.01 million per year. For some added context, Ryan Ramczyk, who is the fifth-highest paid tackle, is earning $19.2 million per year, while Kolton Miller and Lane Johnson are tied for ninth in average earnings at $18 million annually, per Spotrac.

While Jenkins became a starter very early on in his rookie season, Gary took a different path as he was brought along more slowly behind Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. However, like Jenkins, Gary has become among the more productive players at his respective position.

The 2021 season was the breakout year for Gary, as he recorded 12 sacks, according to PFF, and his 87 pressures were the third-most in all of football among edge rushers. It would also appear that Gary still has plenty of room for growth as well.

"“He’s going to be a big-time player for us, and I think he’s going to be a big-time player in this league for a really long time,” LaFleur said during the 2021 training camp via Packers Wire."

TJ Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers will be the NFL’s highest-paid edge rusher by AAV in 2022 at $28.02 million per year. Las Vegas’ Maxx Crosby is fifth at $23.5 million per year, and Dee Ford is 10th with a $17.1 million AAV.

While the Packers having to pay players that they’ve drafted and developed is a very good thing — every team is striving for this — Jenkins and Gary will be two more big contracts on the books for Green Bay in the coming years as both will likely be among the highest paid players at their respective positions.

Looking ahead to 2023, according to Over the Cap, the six largest cap hits on this Packers team will account for $125.96 million worth of cap space–a massive amount.

Now, there are, of course, ways to go about creating more cap space, and with how Green Bay backloads their contracts, the cap hits for Gary and Jenkins in 2023 will likely be fairly low–so these new contracts shouldn’t put a massive strain on next year’s books. However, these will still be two more big contracts to account for in the coming years.

With all of that said, these new deals won’t be happening this offseason. In all likelihood, Green Bay will work out a new contract with Jenkins before he hits free agency, and perhaps a deal will be done during the regular season, similarly to what happened with Kenny Clark in 2020.

When it comes to Gary, the Packers have more time because of that fifth-year option, and his path to a new contract could look somewhat similar to that of Alexander’s in terms of timing.

Over the last two offseasons, in particular, the Packers’ salary cap situation has been front and center and on the minds of many. While things may still be tight beyond 2022, deals with Jenkins and Gary will get done–teams don’t draft and develop players into studs only to let them walk in free agency. And remember, having to pay top dollar for homegrown players is a good thing–it means they are really good players.