Allen Lazard of the Green Bay Packers.

Allen Lazard of the Green Bay Packers. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Aaron Rodgers asked the Jets to go get some of his friends, and they did.

The Jets struck a deal with former Packers receiver Allen Lazard for four years and $44 million, according to reports. This could lead to the Jets finally acquiring Rodgers.

Lazard was someone that Rodgers reportedly asked the Jets to pursue. ESPN reported that Rodgers provided the Jets with a wish list that included Lazard, former Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.,  Packers’ free-agent receiver Randall Cobb and tight end Marcedes Lewis.

Rodgers still hasn’t publicly committed to the Jets. The wait may finally end Wednesday afternoon when Rodgers is scheduled to appear on the “The Pat McAfee Show.” Rodgers could finally reveal his plans.

The Jets have been operating with cautious optimism that they will end up swinging a trade for Rodgers. The fact that they reached a deal with one of his favorite targets and have expressed interest in others on Rodgers’ list are signs that that the future Hall of Fame quarterback could be headed to the Jets.

It’s not uncommon when trying to acquire such an accomplished star and potential franchise-changing player that a team gives him some input on the roster. The Jets will go all-out for Rodgers because they want him to be happy and all-in if/when they finalize a trade for him.

Bringing in some of Rodgers’ friends should help. Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner mentioned the Rodgers’ pursuit last week on his new YouTube stream and said “it’s package deals all over.”

There currently is no deal in place between the Jets and the Packers for Rodgers. If Rodgers declares he wants to be traded to the Jets, the two sides will hammer out a deal. Besides compensation being agreed upon, Rodgers’ contract will need to be worked out.

Rodgers is due $59.6 million guaranteed this season. His deal may need to be restructured or a chunk of it picked up by Green Bay.

The Jets don’t have much leverage in negotiations with Green Bay. The Packers know the Jets need a quarterback and are banking on Rodgers being the player that helps end their 12-year playoff drought and makes them an overnight Super Bowl contender.

The Packers have made it clear that they’re ready to move on with Jordan Love at quarterback. In this situation, the Jets have more to gain as well as more to lose.  

The 6-5 Lazard is a good fit for the Jets, regardless. He is a big target who has spent his five-year career in Green Bay with Rodgers. Lazard complements Jets young receivers Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore.

Lazard, 27, has caught 169 passes for 2,236 yards and 20 touchdowns. Last season, Lazard set career highs with 60 catches for 788 yards, and he scored six touchdowns.

The deal for Lazard likely means that Corey Davis’ days with the Jets are numbered. There have been rumors that he could be going back to Green Bay in a trade for Rodgers. If not, Davis’ $10.5 million salary for 2023 is not guaranteed. The Jets could just release him to create some space.

Rodgers has never played with Beckham but the two are friends. Rodgers has said in the past that he would like to play with Beckham, who missed last season after tearing his ACL in Super Bowl LVI with the Rams. The Jets attended Beckham’s workout in Arizona last week.

The Jets would need to clear much more room to be able to fit Rodgers, Lazard and Beckham on their roster. The receiver room would be improved but also crowded. Wilson showed as a rookie he is a No. 1 receiver, and Moore is talented. The Jets don’t want to hinder their development.

They also have expressed interest in Cobb, who is Rodgers’ close friend and a teammate for 10 years, and the 38-year-old Lewis. The Jets have three tight ends already on the roster in Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah and Lindenhurst's Jeremy Ruckert.

Another name that could be worth watching is Lions free-agent running back Jamaal Williams. He played with Green Bay and Rodgers from 2017-2020. Williams could be in line for a big payday after leading the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns last year.

The Jets have Breece Hall, but he’s returning from a torn ACL. The Jets would like more quality depth in the running back room.

All of the current or former Packers don’t only know Rodgers well, but they’ve played for Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who held the same title in Green Bay for three years.

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