Set for what could be a fascinating platform year, Allen Lazard is now under contract with the Packers. The veteran signed his second-round RFA tender Monday, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter).
This amounts to a necessary move for Lazard, who could have seen the Packers slash his salary had he not signed the tender by June 15. RFAs unsigned beyond that date are subject to seeing their tender salary — in Lazard’s case, $3.99MM — turn into 120% of their previous season’s earnings. Lazard made $850K last year. The young talent missed Green Bay’s minicamp last week, not being required to attend due to his contract situation.
The 6-foot-5 receiver could be set for one of the more unusual role expansions in recent memory. The Packers’ decisions to trade franchise-tagged wideout Davante Adams to the Raiders and then let Marquez Valdes-Scantling sign with the Chiefs leave Lazard, 26, as a candidate to vault from Aaron Rodgers‘ No. 3 receiver to his top aerial weapon. While Green Bay made some receiver additions — mainly journeyman Sammy Watkins and second-round pick Christian Watson — Lazard has a major opportunity in his contract year.
A UDFA out of Iowa State, Lazard caught on with the Packers in 2019. Rodgers consistently praised the newcomer, who has been a Packers regular for the past three years, in that first year and has continued to rely on him as a complementary target. In 2021, Lazard delivered his best work, posting a career-high 513 receiving yards. His eight touchdown catches were more than he tallied between the 2019 and ’20 seasons.
This could be an opportunity for the ex-Jaguars post-draft signing to earn a long-term Packers extension. The team has no veteran wideouts signed beyond 2022, with Randall Cobb‘s deal expiring at season’s end. If Lazard is not ultimately in the Packers’ long-term plans, he has a chance to carve out a strong 2023 free agency market.