According to reports, Allen Lazard’s agent called the New York Jets
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated is reporting that the New York Jets‘ biggest free agent prize wanted them, not the other way around.
Yep, Allen Lazard called the Jets first.
A lot has been made about Aaron Rodgers‘ supposed wishlist – a group of players Rodgers is close to that the Jets have either tried to sign, like Odell Beckham Jr., or have actually signed, like Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Billy Turner. And the discourse is warranted; a player shouldn’t be dictating roster decisions.
In the case of Lazard, it wasn’t Rodgers who made the call to New York. It was Lazard himself. According to Breer, when the legal tampering period opened, it was Lazard’s agent who called Joe Douglas and told him “We want to come.”
Of course, one could argue that was another blown negotiation. After Lazard made it clear he wanted the Jets, they still gave him the largest contract any free agent wide receiver received this offseason. That’s in terms of years (4), total money ($44 million), and total guarantees ($22 million). With such leverage, one would assume a more team-friendly deal could be struck, but that’s an argument for a different day.
What really matters here is that even the notion of Aaron Rodgers’ potential presence had already changed the landscape of the team. The Jets were no longer the up-and-coming team looking to find additional pieces at the right price. They were instead the Super Bowl contenders that the top veterans on the market wanted to play for.
That showed up multiple times this offseason. Al Woods chose to join the Jets over multiple suitors. Connor McGovern took backup money to return to the team. Duane Brown put off retirement following a serious injury to give it another go. Mecole Hardman took a WR4 spot to play for the New York Jets.
For a franchise that has the longest playoff drought in major American sports, even the perception of change is such good news. Now it’s time to see if they can put it into action on the field.