Allen Lazard is on the cusp of being a well-paid Jets wideout. New York is signing Lazard to a four-year, $44M deal, per theScore’s Jordan Schultz (on Twitter).
The parties are finalizing the agreement, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets. With Aaron Rodgers placing Lazard on his Jets free agency wish list, it should be assumed the AFC East team is acting accordingly. Lazard will also reunite with ex-Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett.
This figure being accurate will mean two wide receivers in this free agent class received eight-figure AAVs, and Schultz adds the Jets are preparing to guarantee $22M of Lazard’s contract.
That is in step with Jakobi Meyers‘ deal, which includes $21M in total guarantees. The Raiders are guaranteeing Meyers $16M on a three-year pact; it is not yet known how much of Lazard’s contract will be guaranteed at signing.
On the surface, these look like great terms for Lazard, who exited the 2021 season as Green Bay’s No. 3 wideout. In 2022, however, the Packers placed him at the center of a bold plan that involved trading Davante Adams and letting Marquez Valdes-Scantling join the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.
A year later, all three are gone. The Packers look to have found a promising player in second-round pick Christian Watson, and fourth-round rookie Romeo Doubs showed early signs of being a long-term contributor.
But the team is losing Lazard on the heels of his best season. Lazard’s capabilities aside, his involvement here checks in a bit lower for interest compared to his longtime quarterback’s status.
No, Rodgers still has not committed to playing for the Jets — or for anyone — in 2023. That is believed to be the final domino here, though it would be an interesting chapter in the superstar quarterback’s increasingly odd NFL journey were he to insist on the Jets signing each of the players on his free agency wish list before confirming he would join the team.
Fellow ex-Packers Randall Cobb and Marcedes Lewis are also believed to be on this list. Adding those two should not be a problem for the Jets, but the other player included here — Odell Beckham Jr. — brings more complications. Lazard also could bring changes for Gang Green’s receiving corps.
Lazard, 27, is coming off career-high numbers in receptions (60), receiving yards (788) and targets (100 — a cool 40 more than he received in 2021). The 6-foot-5 target is known as a high-end run-blocking wideout.
That and his 14 touchdown catches over the past two years move the needle, though it is obviously worth wondering if Lazard would be on the Jets’ radar were Rodgers not in the picture.
Setting aside Garrett Wilson, who is not going anywhere, the Jets still have Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Denzel Mims under contract. The team released Braxton Berrios last week, and while Mims has somehow remained on New York’s roster despite years of trade rumors, Davis’ contract may be worth inspecting in light of Lazard’s agreement.
It remains to be seen what Rodgers’ deal will look like; unchanged, the Jets would have him at barely $15M on their 2023 cap. Rodgers has said he would need to adjust his deal, to enable the Packers to trade him without historic dead money coming, but he will still bring a lofty contract to a Jets team accustomed to rookie-QB salaries. Davis, who signed ahead of Zach Wilson‘s rookie year, can be cut nearly free of charge. The Jets could save $10.5M by releasing Davis, who would likely find a new home quickly on this receiver market.