Green Bay offered the wideout a second-round tender worth $3.98 million for the 2022 season in March. NFL rules stipulated that Lazard, entering his fifth professional season, was not allowed to negotiate with any other franchises unless granted permission by the Packers — leaving essentially all of the leverage in the team’s hands.
Even still, Lazard decided to hold out, presumably to push for a longer-term contract. He skipped voluntary workouts over the last several weeks and was the only Packers player absent from mandatory minicamp, which began on June 7. As Lazard was not technically under contract at the time, he faced no financial penalty as a result of his no-show.
However, fines would have started raining down in mid-June had Lazard continued to keep Green Bay at arm’s length, but the receiver chose a different path two days ago when he finally signed the tender he was offered nearly three months before.
Lazard took to Twitter on Monday to make the news official.
“Time to bring the Lombardi back home,” Lazard wrote.
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Lazard in Driver’s Seat For Packers’ No. 1 Wide Receiver Job
Lazard has spent most of his career as the third option for legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
But as the regular season approaches, it looks more and more likely that Lazard will get a shot to compete for the No. 1 pass catching job in Green Bay. In fact, he is probably the favorite to secure it, at least for next season.
The Packers said goodbye to All-Pro Davante Adams this offseason, trading him to the Las Vegas Raiders for a couple of high draft picks. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, meanwhile, left in free agency to join the Kansas City Chiefs.
Green Bay traded up to select Christian Watson early in the second round, but Rodgers’ history with young receivers indicates that Watson is unlikely to become the QB’s top target in his rookie season. Veteran Randall Cobb is back at a reduced salary and career under-performer Sammy Watkins is the only pass catcher the Packers have added in free agency to this point.
Aaron Rodgers Heaps Hefty Praise on Lazard Heading Into 2022
Considering his youth and experience with Rodgers, Lazard looks like the betting favorite to be the top guy at the position, assuming the team doesn’t add any top-end talent. Rodgers spoke earlier this month about Lazard’s potential in that role.
“Excited about Allen Lazard,” Rodgers said. “He’s been our dirty work guy for most of his career here. Now he’s getting an opportunity to be a No. 1 receiver. So, I’m not worried at all about him stepping into that role. I talk to him a lot. I know how he takes care of his body. I know he’ll be ready when he’s here.”
Lazard posted a career year in 2021, pulling down 40 catches for 513 yards and eight touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference. He will become an unrestricted free agent next year.