The Green Bay Packers could potentially lose some significant contributors this offseason, but one analyst thinks that veteran wide receiver Allen Lazard is someone an NFL team will regret signing in free agency.
Despite the possibility that Lazard could return this offseason, the 27-year-old made it clear immediately after the team’s Week 18 loss to the Detroit Lions that he doesn’t intend to return to Green Bay. Instead, the former undrafted free agent will have his first opportunity at a serious payday by hitting the market as an unrestricted free agent.
While Lazard will be one of the top receivers on the open market, not everyone believes he’ll be a strong contributor with a new team. Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport broke down some of the free agents he believes NFL teams will regret signing this offseason, mentioning Lazard as the one to monitor at receiver.
“Teams still have holes to fill and money to spend, and Lazard and [Jakobi] Meyers are the headliners of this year’s free-agent wideout crop,” Davenport said. “The problem is that dearth of talent is going to force teams to reach. Clubs will likely talk themselves into believing that Lazard can be more than a complementary piece. And although he had a career-best season in 2022, it became painfully evident last year that Lazard just isn’t that sort of player.”
Will The Packers Pursue a Veteran Wide Receiver?
With Lazard likely to leave in free agency, the Packers might have to take a swing on another veteran at the position.
As it stands heading into the offseason, the only wide receivers under contract are rookies in Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Samori Toure, or practice squad players. Lazard and Randall Cobb are set to hit free agency, leaving the Packers with no established veteran options on the roster.
The Packers might still draft another wideout, but general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur will want a veteran presence in that position group. Sammy Watkins was an example of that kind of veteran last year, although the team eventually released him prior to the end of the season.
There aren’t many affordable options at the moment for Green Bay, but one veteran to keep an eye on is New York Jets receiver Corey Davis. The Packers have been previously linked to the former first-round pick, and if Davis is released by the Jets, he would be an ideal fit in LaFleur’s offense that prioritizes big-bodied receivers.
What Does the Future Hold for Allen Lazard?
Although his time in Green Bay may be coming to a close, there are still plenty of opportunities out there for Lazard.
After tweeting thank you to Packers fans shortly after the end of the season, Lazard will now hit the open market with teams bidding for his services. The 27-year-old has a projected market value of $37.5 million over three years in this offseason’s class of free agent wide receivers, which will be a huge step up for the former undrafted receiver out of Iowa State.
While his production hasn’t always been there on the box score, Lazard has been a solid big-bodied contributor in the passing game. However, where he excels compared to his peers is his ability as a blocker, working in the trenches to open up rushing lanes for his teammates.
With that kind of skillset, it will be interesting to see which teams express interest in Lazard.