The first major domino has fallen in the Green Bay Packers-to-New York Jets pipeline, but it isn’t an Aaron Rodgers trade. Instead, wide receiver Allen Lazard is headed to New York on a free agent deal.
The contract was first reported by Jordan Schultz of The Score and later confirmed by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, and it will pay him a maximum of $44 million over four years. Half of that money, $22 million, will be guaranteed.
This is the second straight season that a former Packers wide receiver has signed for nine figures annually as an unrestricted free agent. Marquez Valdes Scantling got $30 million over three years in 2022, a contract that earned the Packers a fifth-round compensatory pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. Lazard’s contract could net the Packers as much as a fourth-rounder in 2024, assuming the Packers do not sign a qualifying external free agent of their own with a comparable salary.
Lazard’s agreement with the Jets is set to reunite him with Nathaniel Hackett, the Packers’ former offensive coordinator. He now holds that title in New York, but he ran the Green Bay offense from 2019 to 2021, Lazard’s breakout years. The receiver took on a greater role in 2022 with Davante Adams off to the Las Vegas Raiders, but Hackett will surely know how best to use Lazard and the familiarity between the two should ease their mutual transition to a new team.
Of course, the biggest question remaining is whether the Packers and Jets will finalize a widely-expected trade to send Aaron Rodgers to New York as well. In addition to Lazard, both Randall Cobb and Marcedes Lewis are reportedly among New York’s free agent targets. The fact that several of his favorite receivers from Green Bay are reportedly involved in talks with the Jets suggests that Rodgers is involved in recruiting them to play with him, which in turn implies that he has signed off on a trade.
Still, no concrete reporting about Rodgers’ future has emerged aside from a single tweet from former ESPN personality Trey Wingo, who said on Monday afternoon that the trade was a “done deal.” However, that report was quickly refuted by multiple other NFL insiders, and as yet there has been no further confirmation that a deal has been finalized.
Lazard’s contract is, however, and the former Packer will be wearing a different shade of green this fall — and getting a lot more green, for that matter.