Allen Lazard was happy to join the Jets; eyes on the arrival of Aaron Rodgers

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Wide receiver Allen Lazard said he signed with the New York Jets because of the city’s “bright lights” and his strong affinity for his new offensive coordinator. Then, of course, there’s the life-changing money. And one more thing.

“Obviously, standing here today, it feels good to know that 12 is my quarterback again,” Lazard said Friday on a Zoom call with reporters.

Lazard talked about former Green Bay Packers teammate Aaron Rodgers as if their reunion was done. Not quite, as the Jets and Packers are negotiating trade compensation and a realignment. On Wednesday, Rodgers said it is his “intention” to play for the Jets in 2023. A trade is expected to happen, though nothing is imminent.

After five seasons with the Packers, Lazard, 27, signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Jets. He said he recently spoke with Rodgers at a gym in Los Angeles where they both train in the offseason. Lazard stated that his decision to play for the Jets was not dependent on Rodgers making the same decision.

“As a wide receiver, the best relationship you can have is with the quarterback, and the relationship I have with him has been phenomenal,” Lazard said. – Of course there is a tendency for him to come here, but … after the season, after the last game, in the dressing room, I mentioned how I have to take care of myself and take care of what is best for me and I can. don’t care about other people.

“Me and my decision to come here was purely based on that and making sure I’m doing what’s best for my career. Obviously him being here, it’s definitely going to help the whole organization to be able to take that next step, make a deep step. make a run in the playoffs and go win that Lombardi Trophy.”

Lazard’s selection makes Rodgers happy.

In talks with the Jets last week, he gave a glowing recommendation for Lazard, who set career highs with 60 receptions and 788 yards last season. Speaking on “The Pat McAfee Show” Wednesday, Rodgers said: “I think objectively a lot of people can look at Allen Lazard and say, ‘He’s a really good player.’ We would like him on our team.”

The Jets now have four, maybe five, starting caliber receivers in Lazard, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Denzel Mims. Davis, who has an $11.2 million cap hit, could be expendable.

Assuming Rodgers is the quarterback, Lazard likes the Jets’ chances in the AFC. Asked about the team’s ceiling, he said: “With Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback, the opportunity to win is always important. That being said, it really is the Super Bowl.”

Lazard has come a long way from being undrafted out of Iowa State, being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars and even the Packers. He eventually established himself with the help of Rodgers.

“He really put his arm around me and he’s a big reason why I’m here today,” he said. “I can’t deny that. He stepped up for me in training camp when I probably didn’t deserve to make the roster — at least in the eyes of the front office. He pushed me to be in the game he trusted me and in a lot of tough situations and always believed in me.”

Lazard also thanked offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who served in the same position with the Packers from 2019-2021. Hackett was also on the Jaguars staff when Lazard was there.

“He’s the best teacher I’ve ever had in my life,” Lazard said. “And it goes from school to football.”

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