The New York Jets on Tuesday laid claim to one of the Green Bay Packers top veterans as they attempt to poach the bulk of the Packers’ offense.
Jordan Schultz of The Score reported on March 14 that the Jets will sign wide receiver Allen Lazard to a four-year deal when the NFL’s free agency period officially opens on Wednesday.
“BREAKING: #Jets are signing FA WR Allen Lazard to a 4-year, $44M deal with $22M guaranteed, sources tell @thescore,” Schultz tweeted. “Lazard comes off his best season, totaling 60/788/6 in 15 games with #Packers. This deal should also get things to the finish line with Aaron Rodgers and the Jets.”
Lazard Signing Indicates Rodgers Trade Close to Complete
Conflicting reports as to how close the Packers and Jets are to closing a trade for Rodgers began over the weekend and continued through Monday.
The crux of the disagreement has been whether a framework for a deal has already been agreed to and that the two sides are waiting for Rodgers to commit to it, or if the two sides are waiting for Rodgers to commit to the trade before banging out the specifics. Either way, a deal between the teams has been the most likely outcome for weeks.
Now with Lazard officially headed to New York, it appears that Rodgers may have been waiting for confirmation that the Jets are willing to bring his guys along with him into the locker room. The next domino to fall in this regard could be Randall Cobb, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.
“With the Jets closing in on a deal for WR Allen Lazard, another WR expected to be on their radar in the coming days of free agency is Packers’ veteran Randall Cobb, per league sources,” Schefter reported.
Also on Tuesday, Schefter took to Instagram to report that tight end Marcedes Lewis is on the radar of both the Jets and the Las Vegas Raiders.
Bakhtiari Looks Like Odd Man Out in Ex-Packers’ Exodus to Jets
Rodgers mentioned Lazard, Cobb and Lewis — along with several others including left tackle David Bakhtiari and tight end Robert Tonyan — back in January as players he wanted back with the Packers in 2023 if the team hoped for the quarterback to return as well. It appears the Jets have taken those wishes of Rodgers to heart and that the reunion of sorts is destined to happen, only in New York rather than Green Bay.
Lewis, Tonyan, Lazard and Cobb were all unrestricted free agents heading into the offseason, while Rodgers is perhaps the NFL’s premier trade chip, and Packers brass has been clear that dealing him is the preferred outcome for the team. That leaves Bakhtiari as potentially the odd man out.
Bakhtiari was a potential salary cap casualty until the franchise restructured his contract last week. The move could save the Packers upwards of $12 million against the cap in 2023, depending on whether or not void years were added. If they weren’t, the team still saves $7.5 million by moving the money around — all of which is an indication that Bakhtiari will remain in green and gold this upcoming season to protect backup quarterback Jordan Love in his first year as a starter.