Jets Should Go to Extreme Lengths to Dump Veteran: Analyst

Allen Lazard, Jets

Getty New York Jets wide receiver Allen Lazard warming up in the middle of an OTA practice.

The New York Jets might have to go to great lengths to cut ties with a mistake from last offseason.

Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report suggested one player each NFL team should consider trading ahead of the 2024 season. For the Jets, he urged them to do something crazy to cut ties with veteran wideout Allen Lazard.

“This wouldn’t be an easy deal to pull off, for a number of reasons. There’s Rodgers’ relationship with Lazard, which landed him in New York to begin with. There’s the $10 million in guarantees that Lazard is owed in 2024. And there’s last year’s drop-filled, 23-catch of a mess from Lazard,” Davenport explained. “This could actually be an ‘Osweiler’—a trade in which the Jets actually have to sacrifice a pick a round higher than the one they give up just to dump Lazard’s salary. But that may well beat Rodgers trying to force-feed targets to a wideout who looked washed in 2023.”

In March of 2017, the Houston Texans traded veteran quarterback Brock Osweiler, a 2018 second-round draft choice, and a 2017 sixth-rounder to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 2017 fourth-rounder.

Houston pulled the trigger on the move because they wanted to dump Osweiler and his salary. Cleveland did it because they wanted the valuable draft capital. “The Browns are expected to trade or release Osweiler before the 2017 season,” Adam Schefter of ESPN said immediately following the trade.

Several Reasons Why the Jets Might Consider Pulling the Trigger

In this proposed deal from Bleacher Report, the Jets wouldn’t have to go as far as the Texans-Browns did instead Davenport suggested just a round difference.

For example, the Jets send a 2025 fifth-rounder in exchange for someone else’s 2025 sixth-rounder. The acquiring team improves its draft position and the Jets would get to wash their hands of the Lazard decision.

The most obvious reason the Jets would do this move is to get rid of the salary that is owed. Lazard is scheduled to earn $10 million in cash which is guaranteed for 2024. If New York simply cut him outright they’d actually pay more than if he was just on the roster.

The other reason for going to these extreme lengths is Lazard’s attitude.

At the end of last season, Lazard was asked about his poor play throughout the year and instead of taking the blame he deflected calling it a team sport, “There is so much that has to happen for individuals to be successful.”

The vibes are high at 1 Jets Drive. Aaron Rodgers is back. There is confidence inside the building that this team can make some noise. However, one bad apple can spoil the rest.

If Lazard brings any drama to the team, the Jets might see the bigger picture and decide to bite the bullet and get rid of him.

Lazard Is a Storyline to Watch: Insider

I’ve had several team insiders on “Boy Green Daily” tell me that Lazard will be on the roster this season because of is contract.

However, Rich Cimini of ESPN wrote in his Sunday, June, 2 column that it might not be 100% accurate.

“The Jets probably won’t cut him because his $10 million salary is guaranteed. At the same time, it will be hard to dress him for games because he doesn’t play special teams. For now, he’s running with the starters, but that likely will change when Mike Williams (knee surgery) returns in late summer. Mark it down: This will be a storyline around the final cutdown,” Cimini explained.

Another factor in the Jets’ decision-making will be the temperature check on the rest of the wide receiver room. If a few of the youngsters are performing well that could influence the team’s decision. However if players are struggling and there isn’t someone worthy to take Lazard’s spot, they could just decide to stand pat.

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