Allen Lazard Returns to Green Bay as Tender Deadline Nears

Lazard Returns Green Bay


Getty

Allen Lazard #13 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on November 03, 2019 in Carson, California.

The Green Bay Packers might not have to worry about Allen Lazard’s contract situation for much longer based on the 26-year-old receiver’s social media.

In a post to his Instagram story on Sunday, June 12, Lazard revealed he was back in Green Bay, Wisconsin, after holding off on signing his restricted free agent tender and skipping the Packers’ entire offseason program, including mandatory minicamp. He also shared a video of him catching a ride with Packers tight end Robert Tonyan.

The Packers placed a second-round tender on Lazard back in March that would pay him a salary of about $3.98 million for the 2022 season, but he has not yet signed the tender and could be looking to negotiate a longer-term deal with the team instead of a one-year arrangement. Lazard, however, lacks leverage in a situation that could get worse for him if he hasn’t signed by 4 p.m. ET on June 15, as the Packers will then be allowed to lower the salary on his tender to $935,000 under the league’s current CBA.

Lazard turned in his best of three seasons with the Packers in 2021, catching 40 passes for 513 yards and eight touchdowns. He will also have the opportunity to become the Packers’ new leading receiver in the upcoming year after Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling departed for other teams this offseason. While it is possible he is also looking to get a little long-term security with the team, it remains unknown why he has truly decided to hold out from the team this offseason.

The good news is Lazard’s return to Green Bay seems to suggest he is nearing some sort of resolution with the Packers, even if it is as simple as signing his tender. It is also possible the Packers will restructure his contract once he has signed his tender, potentially adding void years to spread out his cap hit over multiple seasons.

Update: According to a post from Lazard’s own Twitter account on Monday afternoon, he officially signed his second-round tender with the Packers.

The latest Packers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Packers newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Packers!


Who Could Push Lazard for No. 1 Role?

Right now, Lazard has the most experience banked in the Packers’ current offensive system and is the clear frontrunner to step up as Aaron Rodgers’ favorite passing target in the upcoming season, but there are a few others who could challenge him for that role depending on how things go in training camp.

Sammy Watkins is the veteran that comes to mind as Lazard’s biggest competition. The former No. 4 overall draft pick has not produced the career many expected of him, but he is a fast pass-catcher with good hands and more than 5,000 receiving yards over his career. He also has something to prove and intends to do so with a four-time MVP now throwing him the ball. If he and Rodgers forge a connection quickly in camp, Lazard could find himself continuing to do the dirty work as the No. 2 or 3 guy.

Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are also two of the wild-card options in play. The Packers have generally resisted the urge to thrust their rookies into the spotlight right away, preferring instead to give them time to digest the playbook and get their NFL legs under them, but losing Adams and MVS in the same offseason could force them to try new things in that regard. Watson was a second-round pick who the Packers wanted to take in the first round and Doubs was impressive during minicamp, so it is still a little early to presume neither of them will have an immediate impact in 2022.


Will Packers Keep 7 Receivers in 2022?

The Packers have 10 wide receivers on their 90-man offseason roster with training camp about six weeks away and will obviously have to weed some out before the season begins, but could they decide to break their norms and keep as many as seven in 2022?

There are several players who — once Lazard is signed — can be considered locks to make the 53-man roster: Lazard, Watson, Doubs and Randall Cobb. Amari Rodgers is also probably a lock as the Packers traded up to get him in the third round just a year ago and have likely not given up on him despite a disappointing rookie year. The rest of the group, though, is a little less straightforward.

Watkins is right on the line of being a near-lock for the Packers’ 2022 roster. If he manages to prove his gnarly injury history is behind him and stays healthy for all of training camp, he should be an easy keep decision for the Packers, but his cuttable contract gives them room for flexibility if he struggles or is outperformed in camp.

Should Watkins make the roster, the Packers will then have to think long and hard about the possibility of keeping seven receivers. Samori Toure, a seventh-round rookie draft pick, could be a candidate purely for his team-friendly rookie contract. There are also Malik Taylor — who made the active roster in each of the past two years — and Juwann Winfree in legitimate contention for a possible seventh spot.

Leave a Comment