NFL free agency: Jets sign WR Allen Lazard as pursuit of Aaron Rodgers takes big step forward
The New York Jets took a major step toward trading for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Friday. No, the team didn't acquire Rodgers, but it did the next best thing: Signed Rodgers' favorite target.
Wideout Allen Lazard officially signed with the Jets on Friday, the team announced. The deal was rumored for days, and Lazard hinted at it in a big way, sending out a farewell thread to Packers fans on Twitter on Wednesday.
The past four years have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. Since day one Packer fans have always had my back. Y’all have never failed to impress me with your overwhelming love and support, no matter where we played.
— Allen Lazard 👑 (@AllenLazard) March 15, 2023
Lazard, 27, is coming off a career best season, in which he caught 60 passes for 788 yards and 6 touchdowns. Prior to the emergence of Christian Watson, Lazard served as Rodgers' primary target in Green Bay.
Despite some middling receiving numbers, Lazard has always been a favorite of Rodgers. The All-Pro quarterback has pushed for Lazard to receive more playing time for years. Rodgers finally got his wish in 2022. While Lazard didn't post dominant numbers, he proved to be a solid player who Rodgers trusts. Lazard ranks seventh in the NFL in end zone targets over the last two seasons, a testament to how much Rodgers looks for Lazard in crucial situations. He's also an elite blocker who should help the Jets in the running game.
NEW Jets WR Allen Lazard's #ReceptionPereption profile.
- Definitely not a separator
- Good hands, can win in contested situations
- Can line up outside off the line or as a power slot
- Love his fit in the Jets offense as a blockerhttps://t.co/HhOAYCGGxe pic.twitter.com/q9PzCjj3bJ
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) March 14, 2023
The Jets look to have a superstar talent in Garrett Wilson, got strong production out of Corey Davis and still have 2021 standout Elijah Moore at receiver, prompting questions as to whether the team needed to add another costly player at the position.
Jets inch closer to Aaron Rodgers trade with Allen Lazard signing
The Jets may see a Lazard signing as essential, and a move that truly puts the team over the top, but it's tough to ignore the alternative motive the team may have had for bringing in Rodgers' favorite target.
New York is reportedly trying to work on a trade for Rodgers, who made it clear Wednesday he wants to play for the team. Rodgers allegedly asked the team to sign Lazard, Randall Cobb, Marcedes Lewis and Odell Beckham Jr. before he commits to the Jets. If that's true, the Jets will take a big step toward convincing Rodgers to join them if Lazard is signed. Rodgers, however, denied he gave the Jets a list of players the team needed to sign.
At the same time, New York still has a lot of work to do on that front. Cobb and Lewis shouldn't cost a ton, but Beckham could demand a fair amount of money. Considering the talent the Jets already have at receiver, it's unclear whether they will continue to spend resources on the position to make Rodgers happy.
Quarterback remains a huge issue for the Jets. With Rodgers, the team could be a Super Bowl contender ... assuming it still has money left to spend on other positions after bringing in all of Rodgers' friends.