Wide receiver Allen Lazard signs 4-year contract with Jets
Allen Lazard loved everything about New York when he first visited a few months ago.
From now on, it will be the home of the Jets’ new wide receiver. And he’ll reunite with his former offensive coordinator in Nathaniel Hackett — and possibly quarterback Aaron Rodgers soon.
Lazard signed a four-year contract with the Jets on Friday, a deal worth $44 million and including $22 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports.
“For me, I just wanted to go to a big city,” Lazard, a native of Iowa, said on a Zoom call. “I wanted to come to a place that just has a melting pot of culture and just be able to get that experience. You know, the bright lights of New York.
The Big Apple spotlight could soon shine on Rodgers, Lazard’s former Packers teammate, who said this week on ‘The Pat McAfee Show’ that he plans to play for New York this year after 18 seasons in Green Bay. The parties are still working out the details of compensation in an attempt to complete a trade.
Lazard knows expectations will rise enormously if Rodgers lands with the Jets, a franchise that hasn’t made the Super Bowl since 1969 and has the NFL’s longest active playoff drought at 12 seasons.
“Having him here definitely helps the whole organization take the next step they need to make a deep playoff run and win that Lombardi Trophy,” Lazard said.
The 27-year-old wide receiver said Rodgers’ decision wasn’t necessarily a deciding factor in where he would sign as a free agent, but “it really helps.”
Lazard said the presence of coach Robert Saleh was also a factor, but he loved Hackett, who worked with the receiver in the same offensive coordinator role at Green Bay from 2019-21.
“He’s the best teacher I’ve ever had in my life,” Lazard said. “And I go from school to football, he makes learning fun. … He makes it really easy and he lets you go out there and play fast and not think. That’s why I have had great success in recent years.
Lazard tweeted Thursday night that he and Hackett were at dinner together, hinting the signing was imminent. On Wednesday, he tweeted a farewell to the Packers and their fans: “It’s been an honor to represent the ‘G’ and rock the green and the gold with all of you.”
The 6-foot-5 Lazard, considered a formidable catcher as a receiver, is coming off his best season in the NFL. He had career-highs of 60 catches and 788 receiving yards to go along with six touchdowns; in 2021, he had eight career-best TD receptions.
“I think objectively a lot of people can look at Allen Lazard and go, he’s a really good player, we’d love to have him on our team,” Rodgers said on ‘The Pat McAfee Show’. “Anyone would be lucky to have him in the dressing room.”
Lazard was signed by Jacksonville as an undrafted free agent from Iowa State in 2018 and was signed by Green Bay to the Jaguars practice squad that season.
“I still feel undrafted,” Lazard said with a smile, “because the checks haven’t hit yet.”
After starting just 12 games in his first three seasons, Lazard transitioned into a starting role and developed a strong relationship with Rodgers while starting 28 games over the past two years. In five NFL seasons, Lazard has 169 career receptions for 2,236 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“During my time with Aaron in Green Bay, he really put his arm around me and he’s a big reason I’m here today,” Lazard said of his NFL career. “I can’t deny it. … He leaned on me in many high pressure situations and always believed in me.
NOTES: P Thomas Morstead posted on Twitter that he had signed with the Jets, joining them after spending part of the 2021 season with New York. Morstead, 37, wrote: ‘Got my green. Kiss me, I’m a Jet! in the post which included a photo of his wife Lauren kissing him while he was wearing his old Jets jersey. Morstead was a free agent after spending last season with Miami. The team had not announced the signing of Morstead, who would compete with incumbent Braden Mann. … Former Baltimore G/C Trystan Colon agreed to terms with the Jets after not being offered by the Ravens as a restricted free agent. Colon spent his first three NFL seasons in Baltimore after being signed as an undrafted free agent from Missouri in 2020.
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