When free agency starts in the middle of March, the Packers will have a lot of decisions to make. It seems as if many of these decisions are going to be focused internally and about their 2021-22 roster. Two of those players are wide receivers Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdez-Scantling. Allen Lazard will be a Restricted Free Agent and MVS will be an Unrestricted Free Agent.
Green Bay may very well have to choose between these two players depending on their market value and asking prices. There is also a chance that neither player is back.
Allen Lazard has exceeded expectations consistently ever since Green Bay plucked him off the Jaguars practice squad in late 2018. This season, he solidified himself as the best blocking WR in the league. Lazard is a total team player, is fearless, and has the trust and love of QB1.
As a pass-catcher, he is definitely limited, but steps up when he needs to. Lazard has made many clutch catches in his few years with the Packers and knows his role well. He will never be a solidified number one WR for any NFL team, but every team in the NFL needs a guy like Allen Lazard.
The “restricted” free agent for Lazard means essentially that the Packers can match any offer sheet given to Lazard in free agency by another team. If they choose not to, he will sign with the other team.
Green Bay drafted MVS in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He has had his ups and downs, highlighted by flashy speed and inconsistent hands. In the 2020 NFL season, MVS led the league in yards per reception. This season, he reached a speed of 22.09 mph on a touchdown catch, which was the second highest speed recorded in the NFL this season.
MVS’ best season was in 2020 where he almost had 700 yards and tallied 6 TD’s. It looked like he was well on his way to another career year before having to miss 6 games in 2021 due to a hamstring injury.
While MVS may never be a high-volume pass catching weapon, he brings a vertical element to the Packers offense that any defense has to be ready for. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the 97th ranked Free Agent, which is the 13th best WR on the market.
If it were me, I would be looking to retain both, if possible. However, if I had to choose I would go with Allen Lazard. The value he brings as a blocker and opportunistic mindset he brings as a receiver is vital to this offense. There were rumors a couple weeks ago that Aaron Rodgers is hoping to woo WR’s Davante Adams and MVS to the destination he gets traded to. Seems like a lot of smoke and no fire, especially with the recent reports that Rodgers is most likely to stay in Green Bay.