Allen Lazard excited to join Jets;  eyes the arrival of Aaron Rodgers

Allen Lazard excited to join Jets; eyes the arrival of Aaron Rodgers

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  • March 17, 2023
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FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Wide receiver Allen Lazard said he signed with the New York Jets because of the city’s “bright lights” and a strong affinity with his new offensive coordinator. Then, of course, there’s the life-changing money. And something else.

“Of course, standing here today, it feels good to know that 12 will be my quarterback again,” Lazard said on a Zoom call with reporters on Friday.

Lazard spoke about former Green Bay Packers teammate Aaron Rodgers as if their reunion was a done deal. Not quite, as the Jets and Packers are negotiating a trade compensation and restructured contract. On Wednesday, Rodgers said his “intent” was to play for the Jets in 2023. A trade is expected to occur even though nothing is imminent.

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After five seasons with the Packers, Lazard, 27, signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Jets. He said he recently spoke to Rodgers at a Los Angeles gym where they both train during the offseason. Lazard stated that his decision to play for the Jets was not dependent on Rodgers deciding the same.

“As a wide receiver, the best relationship you can have is with the quarterback, and the relationship I have with him has been phenomenal,” Lazard said. “Of course there’s an inclination for him to come here, but … after the season, after the last game, in the dressing room, I mentioned how I have to take care of myself and take care of what’s best for me is and what I can do. Don’t worry about other people.

“Me and my decision to come here was based solely on that and making sure I was doing the best for my career. Obviously, if he’s here to run the playoffs and win the Lombardi Trophy, it definitely helps the whole organization to take the next step.”

Lazard’s choice will make Rodgers happy.

During discussions with the Jets last week, he offered a glowing endorsement from Lazard, who set career highs with 60 receptions and 788 yards last season. Rodgers said on Wednesday’s The Pat McAfee Show, “I think objectively a lot of people can look at Allen Lazard and say, ‘He’s a really good player. We would love to have him on our team.’”

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The Jets now have four, maybe five, starting caliber receivers in Lazard, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Denzel Mims. Davis, who has a $11.2 million cap, could be expendable.

Assuming Rodgers is the quarterback, Lazard likes the Jets’ chances in the AFC. When asked about the team’s cap, he said, “With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, the possibility of wins is always a thing. Other than that, it really is the Super Bowl.”

Lazard has come a long way, having been released from the state of Iowa, being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars and even being cut by the Packers. He eventually established himself with some help from Rodgers.

“He really put his arm around me and he’s a big reason I’m here today,” he said. “I can’t deny that. He put himself on a table for me during training camp when I probably didn’t deserve to be in the squad – at least in the eyes of the front office. He challenged me to be in the game, relied on me in many high-pressure situations and always believed in me.”

Lazard also credited offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who served in the same position for the Packers from 2019-2021. Hackett was also on the Jaguars’ staff during Lazard’s time there.

“He’s the best teacher I’ve had in my life,” Lazard said. “And that goes from school to football.”

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