In his first press conference with his new team, former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard painted a less than flattering picture his old organization.
Lazard stepped to the microphone on Friday, March 17, speaking to the vaunted New York media after inking a four-year, $44 million deal with the New York Jets three days prior. Among the first questions he fielded involved how hard the Packers organization tried to keep him in Green Bay.
According to Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic, the team showed essentially zero interest in retaining the wideout.
“They didn’t seem like they were going to miss me too much,” Lazard told reporters.
Lazard put up a career year in 2022, hauling in 60 catches on 100 targets for 788 yards and six touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference. All told, Lazard amassed 168 catches for 2,229 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Packers over the past four seasons. He appeared in just one game for the team in 2018, making one grab for seven yards.
Packers Giving Rodgers Taste of His Own Medicine in Jets Trade Talks
The decision by Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur to move on from Lazard is hardly an insult in the context of the cutthroat business of professional sports and particularly in the NFL, where contracts are rarely fully-guaranteed and all that separates most players from star status and being considered a disposable asset is one bad injury or one disappointing season.
That said, it is an interesting contrast Lazard held up on Friday between the organization being flippant about his future with the team and the criticisms that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has faced for his own flippancy about a future in Green Bay.
Dan Graziano of ESPN highlighted the Packers’ disposition toward Rodgers now that their 15-year starter appears destined for a trade to the Jets, implying that Rodgers has treated members of the Packers organization poorly.
“Yeah, the way [you] treat people matters. Matt Stafford wants out after 12 years in Detroit? Sure, Matt. No muss, no fuss. Matt Ryan wants out after 14 years in Atlanta? Sure, Matt. We’ll take care of you. Rodgers wants out of Green Bay? OK, Aaron. We’ll get to it when we get to it,” Graziano tweeted on Thursday.
Appropriate context absent from Graziano’s depiction of the situation is that Green Bay is now exercising the leverage it has in trade talks to get the best deal possible for the quarterback, after Rodgers declared his intention to play for the Jets next season and after the Jets signed Lazard to pique Rodgers’ interest.
Rodgers Always Wanted Lazard, Even if Packers Didn’t
If Lazard was offended by the Packers’ position on his future, which he appeared to be based on how he chose to answer the question on the topic, some or all of his hurt feelings ought to be abated by the fact that Rodgers clearly values him as a teammate.
While Rodgers fervently denied reports that he sent the Jets a personnel wish list on the Wednesday edition of The Pat McAfee Show, the fact that the Jets signed Lazard to what can be argued is an above-market contract before Rodgers was in-house is fairly strong circumstantial evidence to the contrary. What happens with players like wide receiver Randall Cobb and tight end Marcedes Lewis, both of whom are drawing near the end of their professional careers, will offer even more insight into the matter.
But either way, Rodgers publicly stumped for the Packers to bring Lazard back into the fold in Green Bay when the quarterback presumably still assumed that’s where he would play in 2023. Now, Lazard is with the Jets and it appears just a matter of time before Rodgers will be, too.