Packers re-signing WR Allen Lazard makes sense depending on contract, cap space
Around this time last year, the Green Bay Packers were interested in bringing back Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The former fifth-round pick developed into a legitimate deep threat, but the financial aspect made it difficult to work out a long-term deal. Eventually, Valdes-Scantling signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fast forward a year later and Green Bay finds itself in a similar predicament.
Allen Lazard is set to become a free agent this offseason. Like Valdes-Scantling, Lazard has developed into a dependable wide receiver with a specialized skill set. Valdes-Scantling has speed as his calling card, while Lazard is efficient and one of the best-blocking receivers in the NFL.
A former undrafted free agent signed off the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad in 2018, Lazard entered this season with a lot on his plate after being built up as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver in place of Davante Adams. Despite having a career year, his 60 receptions for 788 yards and six touchdowns are more in line with a second or third receiver role.
Nevertheless, every team would love to have a guy like Lazard. His willingness to do the dirty work is lost on a lot of wide receivers in today’s game but serves as a catalyst to Green Bay’s rushing offense.
To some significance, Aaron Rodgers would prefer to have Lazard back if he wants to keep playing. Rodgers named Lazard among veteran teammates with uncertain futures who could factor into his decision to return to the Packers.
But even if Rodgers returns, retires, or gets traded, Green Bay should want Lazard back. The main issue is how it will work out financially.
Lazard’s next offer won’t be another one-year deal via an exclusive rights tender or restricted free agent tender, as the Packers have benefitted from financially in previous years.
This will be Lazard’s first and maybe only chance to sign a long-term contract, and according to Spotrac, it may be in the ballpark of $11 million annually. For comparison purposes, Lazard’s projected compensation would be similar to Cincinnati’s Tyler Boyd and Denver’s Tim Patrick. Both players had nearly identical statistics to Lazard in 2022 and are around the same age.
Some may disagree that Lazard is worth that much per year. Those same people probably thought Valdes-Scantling wouldn’t get a yearly salary of $10 million.
Of course, the team’s limited cap space will further complicate things. To even make Lazard an offer will require multiple restructures to current contracts and possibly cutting players. Luckily – or not so lucky depending how you look at it – Green Bay has been in this situation before.
The Packers may value Lazard, but there is a lot to consider. Working for him is the fact that there aren’t many players like him walking around in free agency or coming up through the draft. Green Bay was able to replace Valdes-Scantling’s speed and then some with the selection of Christian Watson, but replacing Lazard’s goon-ish mentality and run-blocking might be more difficult.
Packers free agent review: WR Allen Lazard