On Monday, the day that the NFL’s “legal tampering period” opened up, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio stated that current Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been working to recruit at least one free agent to play with him on the New York Jets. That free agent very well might be former Packers receiver Allen Lazard — one of Rodgers’ best friends on the team — who according to Adam Schefter is “working to reach an agreement” with New York.
Jets are actively working to reach an agreement with Packers’ free-agent WR Allen Lazard, per league sources. There is another team involved, and no final decision, but the Jets are trying to reunite Lazard and OC Nathaniel Hackett. pic.twitter.com/rkzX17o5do— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2023
The loss of Lazard for the Packers would be the first of the team in the 2023 free-agency period. Yesterday, the only move the team made was re-signing kick returner Keisean Nixon to a one-year contract. With Green Bay’s cap situation in 2023, it was never thought that the Packers could be highly-competitive in re-signing Lazard, but it’s at least worth noting that none of their other free agents have fled elsewhere (yet), either.
Lazard began his career as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where the Packers plucked him off of the practice squad in 2018. After playing on an exclusive rights free agent tender and a restricted free agent tender over the last two years, Lazard managed to record 169 receptions, 2,236 receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns over 57 games, 40 starts and five seasons with Green Bay. As an unrestricted free agent for the first time, the 6’5”, 227-pound 27-year-old is set to make his first major payday of his NFL career this offseason.
The Jets signing Lazard would be something like a canary in the coal mine that would suggest a potential Rodgers trade to the Jets is close to the finish line. Rodgers has previously stated that he would “not hold hostage” the Packers, meaning that he’ll make his decision to retire, return to Green Bay or accept a trade to New York by the Wednesday deadline that is the new league year (and free agency, officially) starting. On Monday, every “insider” in football journalism said that the Jets were “cautiously optimistic” (or something else along those lines) that Rodgers would be a Jet when everything was said and done.
With Lazard and likely Randall Cobb — another 2023 free agent — likely out of the mix for Green Bay, the Packers will return Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure, Bo Melton and Jeff Cotton as their receiver room for this upcoming season. According to a vote by Acme Packing Company readership, receiver is the fourth-biggest need for the team going into the 2023 off-season.