Packers: Why Allen Lazard return is huge for offense in 2022
It is official. According to Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber, wide receiver Allen Lazard signed his RFA tender (one year, $3.99 million) Monday and is now locked in for another season with the Green Bay Packers.
He is Aaron Rodgers’ top returning receiver, one of the most versatile offensive pieces in the entire league, and an awesome teammate. There is never a shortage of those in Green Bay. But Lazard’s return could very well be the final piece for an offense that has a lot of unique pieces and pass-catchers.
Lazard is entering a contract season, which means he is due for yet another career year. He set career-best marks in receptions (40), yards (513), and touchdowns (eight) in 2021. He also missed 2.5 games.
Had he played a full year, he might have put up WR2 numbers behind Davante Adams.
At 6-5, nearly 230 pounds, Lazard is a big option. He is one of the premier run-blocking receivers in the game. He also has a history of performing well on special teams when that is asked of him.
Lazard went undrafted in 2018 and was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who tried to make him into a tight end. The Packers signed him to their practice squad and through incredible effort, he fought his way onto the active roster just in time for a Monday Night Football matchup with the Detroit Lions.
The rest is history.
Next offseason, he will earn a big contract. Hopefully with the Packers.
Most likely, Lazard and free-agent acquisition Sammy Watkins will be commanding the majority of the top targets from Rodgers. Again, Lazard is versatile. Watkins is more of a true WR that can win one-on-one against the opposing team’s top corner. He also brings Super Bowl experience.
Then, you have the 12-year veteran and franchise legend Randall Cobb, who understands how to play the slot better than almost any other receiver currently in the league. He also knows how to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers better than anyone, seeing as he has been a Packer for 10 of his 12 career seasons.
Second-year Amari Rodgers has come back to OTAs six pounds lighter and is even hungrier after a down rookie season. Think of him as Cobb’s understudy, who will utilized in the jet-motion game too.
Cobb was coached at the University of Kentucky by WRs coach Tee Martin, the father of…Amari Rodgers. So, those two know each other like brothers.
Next up comes the rookies.
Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Samori Toure are all big-play threats.
Watson has the ability to take a WR screen to the house in a heartbeat. He is also 6-4 with 4.3 speed. He is such a unique athlete.
Doubs plays bigger than his 6-2 height. He plays like a younger Alshon Jeffery. Long strides, soft hands. He is going to be wearing the No. 87. That is fitting. He, I think, is going to make big plays down the field for Aaron Rodgers like Jordy Nelson used to.
Finally, Toure is a former All-American. He is also a big YPR player. He had a mark of 19.5 yards per reception at Nebraska in his senior year. He will be an underrated piece if he can find a way on to the 53-man roster by early September.
Even practice squad players who have played on the 53-man roster before, in Malik Taylor and Juwann Winfree, bring their own strengths to the overall roster.
But make no mistake about it, Allen Lazard’s return is huge for this team. He will play a key role for this team all season long.
This WR group is going to be better than it has been in past years, even without Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, because they are going to be great collectively instead of one receiver dominating the targets. Opposing defenses better be taking notes.