The Green Bay Packers took several big steps towards salary cap compliance over the last 24-plus hours, but brought back one major piece of their defense in re-signing De’Vondre Campbell. On Tuesday, the team also took a significant step to return a major piece of their offense as well, issuing a tender to restricted free agent Allen Lazard.
As the Packers’ big slot receiver and so-called “goon,” Lazard has been a force as a blocker in the run game as well as a reliable possession receiver over the past few seasons. Now he is likely to return for 2022, as the Packers have reportedly submitted a second-round tender to him.
That tender is equivalent to a one-year contract worth $3,986,000, a major pay raise over Lazard’s league-minimum salary in 2021. The net impact on the Packers’ cap is an increase of $3,281,000, as it bumps a player making $705,000 out of the 51 highest contracts on the roster.
Lazard will be eligible to receive an offer sheet from another NFL team if they so choose, but the Packers would have the right to match the offer. If he does receive and offer sheet and the Packers decline, the team signing him would forfeit a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to Green Bay as compensation.
In 2021, Lazard set career highs in every total receiving category, recording 40 receptions, 513 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns in 15 games. His catch rate slipped a bit from 72% in 2020 to 67% in 2021 while his yards per reception dipped by about a yard to 12.8, but he still finished second on the team to Davante Adams in yards and touchdowns while coming in third in receptions behind Adams and Aaron Jones. Lazard also was credited with only one drop and no interceptions when he was targeted, giving him a passer rating of 132.8 when targeted, second best on the team behind Randall Cobb.
The Packers will still need to clear the roughly $3.3 million in salary cap space before Wednesday, along with a few additional million that they still were over the cap prior to the tender. However, this move is a significant step towards returning the bulk of the Packers’ offensive production for 2022.