Aaron Rodgers trade rumors: Why Jets' pursuit of Allen Lazard could ...
The Jets are on the verge of acquiring a talented offensive player from the Packers.
It may not be Aaron Rodgers, but a pending deal could signify that the long-speculated Rodgers to the Jets trade is imminent.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Jets were "actively working to reach an agreement" with former Packers receiver Allen Lazard. They are competing with at least one other team to obtain Lazard's services, per the report.
Schefter cited a connection to new Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett — who was the Packers' offensive coordinator for three years from 2019 to 2021 — as the reason for New York's interest in the veteran pass catcher.
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But NFL fans will note that Lazard also has a long-term connection to Rodgers. The two have been teammates since Lazard signed with the Packers in 2018 after a brief stint with the Jaguars. The duo has great chemistry, and Rodgers was among the first to support Lazard as Green Bay's No. 1 receiver after the Davante Adams trade.
"Obviously, Allen Lazard is going to step into the No. 1 role," Rodgers said during the 2022 offseason, per The Comeback, "and I think it’s going to be a very seamless transition for him as a primary blocker and kind of a niche guy for us, to get an opportunity to get more throws, be No. 1 in the progression more often."
That connection is critical in assessing this move for the Jets. Why? Because New York wasn't necessarily believed to be in the market for a receiver entering the offseason. The team already had Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore as two key, young wideouts while veteran Corey Davis was a solid No. 3 option for the squad.
It's worth noting that Davis has struggled to stay healthy with the Jets, and Moore wasn't exactly pleased with his role in the offense last season, going as far as to demand a trade away from New York. The team also cut slot-man Braxton Berrios — its No. 4 receiver — to open some cap space.
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As such, one could make a case that the Jets could use the 27-year-old Lazard independent of their pursuit of Rodgers. He could be an upgrade over Davis and comes with the added bonus of knowing Hackett's offense.
Even still, Lazard's connection to Rodgers can't be ignored. That's especially true considering the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Monday that Lazard would like to keep playing with Rodgers — if possible.
“[Lazard] is a close friend of Aaron Rodgers and has been in touch with Rodgers recently. Much like everybody else, Allen Lazard is waiting to see what Aaron Rodgers is going to do," Garafolo said, per the New York Post. "He’s got to make the call for his future and a long-term deal, potentially. He’d love to continue to play with Rodgers, potentially, if it lines up."
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Also, it's worth noting that Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner teased that there could be a "package deal" in his team's pursuit of Rodgers.
Could Rodgers have stipulated the Jets sign Lazard as part of a deal to acquire him? Only time will tell.
But as the latest Rodgers saga reaches what appears to be its final chapter, the whispers about him joining the Jets are starting to evolve into shouts.