Allen Lazard happy to join the Jets; watch the arrival of Aaron Rodgers

Rich CiminiESPN Writer4 minute read

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Wide receiver Allen Lazard said he signed with the New York Jets because of the “bright lights” in the city and a strong affinity for his new offensive coordinator. Then, of course, there is life-changing money. And another thing too.

“Obviously here today it feels good to know that 12 is going to be my quarterback again,” Lazard said Friday during a Zoom call with reporters.

Lazard talked 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 trade compensation and a restructured contract. On Wednesday, Rodgers said his “intention” was to play for the Jets in 2023. A trade is expected to take place, although nothing is imminent.

After five seasons with the Packers, Lazard, 27, signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Jets. He said he recently spoke with Rodgers at a fitness center in Los Angeles, where they both train during the offseason. Lazard indicated that his decision to play for the Jets did not hinge on Rodgers’ decision.

“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. “Obviously there is a tendency for him to come here, but… after the season, after the last game, in the dressing room, I mentioned how I have to worry about myself and take care of what is best for me and I can’t care about others.

“Me and my decision to come here was purely based on that and making sure I’m doing the best for my career. Obviously having him here, it definitely helps the whole organization to be able to get through that next step, make a deep playoff run and go win that Lombardi Trophy.”

Lazard’s choice will make Rodgers happy.

In talks last week with the Jets, he gave a glowing recommendation to Lazard, who set career highs last season with 60 receptions and 788 yards. Speaking on ‘The Pat McAfee Show’ on Wednesday, Rodgers said: “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. .'”

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

Assuming Rodgers is the quarterback, Lazard likes the Jets’ chances in the AFC. Asked about the team cap, he said, “With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, the possibility of wins is always a thing. That being said, it really is the Super Bowl.”

Lazard has come a long way from being undrafted out of Iowa State, being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and even being cut by the Packers. He eventually settled down, with the help of Rodgers.

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

Lazard also credited offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who held 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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