Prior to the Green Bay Packers’ first day of mandatory minicamp this offseason, head coach Matt LaFleur told the media that every player under contract was expected to be at practice on Tuesday. The immediate follow-up by the media was to ask the question of if wide receiver Allen Lazard, the only member of the 90-man roster who is not under contract, was in town, to which LaFleur replied that he hadn’t seen him.
At practice, The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman confirmed that Lazard was the only player either not practicing with the team or in the rehab group.
Typically, a player missing mandatory practices would come with a heavy fine. The workaround for Lazard is the fact that he technically has not signed the contract that comes with having a second-round tender placed on him, which is what the Packers did this offseason to the restricted free agent. Currently, Lazard is slated to make $3,986,000 on his one-year deal, but he obviously must want a long-term contract based on his recent actions.
If you recall, a similar situation played out in 2018 with Le’Veon Bell’s unsigned tag situation. Bell, who was hit with the franchise tag, never signed his offer and therefore couldn’t be fined by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers believed that his holdout would only last through the preseason, leading to a saga that lasted until mid-November when his offer officially expired.
The Packers technically could pull Lazard’s offer at any point, but seem to want to have him play on that $3.99 million salary. If both sides are dug in on their positions, there’s no reason for this issue to be resolved until at least the preseason.
Until then, Lazard’s absence opens up more reps for players like Christian Watson, Sammy Watkins, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure, the new additions to the wide receiver room this offseason.
Lazard’s agent has made a statement.
Statement from Allen Lazard’s agent, Peter Schaffer, on Lazard’s mandatory minicamp absence: “Allen’s total focus is on having the best possible season he can have as a player & helping the Packers win the Lombardi Trophy. Everything he is doing is to further those objectives.”— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) June 7, 2022