Green Bay Packers lose two of team’s best-ever UDFA pass-catchers

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

With the departure of wide receiver Allen Lazard to the New York Jets and tight end Robert Tonyan to the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers will need to replace 113 catches and 1,258 pass receiving yards from that pair in 2022.

In addition, the loss of Lazard and Tonyan leaves a large gap among a unique group of players wearing the Green and Gold: undrafted free agents (UDFA).

In 2022, eight UDFA Green Bay Packers played in 10 or more games for the team: Jack Coco (long snapper), Dallin Leavitt (safety), Yosh Nijman (tackle), Keisean Nixon (CB and returner), Tonyan, Lazard, Patrick Taylor (RB) and Eric Wilson (LB).

Both Lazard and Tonyan joined the Packers as UDFAs in 2018 (Lazard from Iowa State and Tonyan from Indiana State). In five years with the Packers, Lazard and Tonyan were among the top UDFA performers in Green Bay. Since 2018, Tonyan’s 68 games played were the most by a Packers’ UDFA while Lazard’s 57 games played ranked four among the team’s UDFAs.

But the impact goes even deeper. Lazard and Tonyan not only became important parts of the Green Bay offense in their five seasons, but their stats rank among the best-ever when it comes to UDFAs.

In fact, if you look at the career pass receiving stats of Lazard and Tonyan from 2018-22, they both rank in the Top 5 for pass receiving TDs, yards and catches of Green Bay Packers undrafted free agents.

Receiving TDs by Green Bay undrafted free agents
39: Paul Coffman
25: Ed West
20: Allen Lazard
17: Bob Mann, Robert Tonyan

Receptions by Green Bay undrafted free agents
322: Paul Coffman
202: Ed West
182: Perry Kemp
169: Allen Lazard
137: Robert Tonyan

Receiving yards by Green Bay undrafted free agents
4,223: Paul Coffman
2,341: Perry Kemp
2,321: Ed West
2,236: Allen Lazard
1,629: Bob Mann
1,437: Robert Tonyan

There’s little doubt that Paul Coffman is the greatest UDFA pass catcher the Packers have had in their history. But the contributions of Lazard and Tonyan over the past five seasons will certainly be remembered.

Moving forward, you have to wonder whether or not replacing Lazard and Tonyan will come via the draft, trades, or if there might be an UDFA or two that will come into Green Bay in the same manner as Lazard and Tonyan.