The Packers tendered restricted free agent Allen Lazard earlier this offseason. Lazard is considered a restricted free agent as he has not accrued four or more seasons in the NFL.
Under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), any player whose contract is up before the end of their fourth season in the league becomes an exclusive rights or restricted free agent. This grants their current team, and only their current team, the ability to offer one year tender contracts as a way to see how they develop.
This is a very team friendly aspect of the CBA as it does not force clubs to throw out expensive long term contracts to their young players. They can rather tender these players through their fourth season. Furthermore, no other club is permitted to negotiate a contract with these players. The current team has sole control over their contract and the only way an exclusive rights or restricted free agent can change teams is if their current team cuts them loose or does not offer them a tender.
Allen Lazard joined the Packers four seasons ago in 2018, but he did not play enough in his first season for it to count as an accrued year in the league. Therefore, Lazard remains a restricted free agent which allows the Packers to have sole control over where he plays in 2022. With the departure of Davante Adams and with Lazard’s solid play the past few seasons, he is poised to be a major part of Green Bay’s wide receiver corps.
However, Lazard has yet to sign the tender that the Packers offered him. It is assumed that Lazard has yet to put pen to paper as he may be trying to negotiate a long term contract with the Packers. Lazard does not have the ability to negotiate with any other teams, but he and the Packers can come to agreement over a long term contract. However, Lazard holding out from signing his tender could backfire.
Green Bay has all the leverage in this scenario. If Lazard and the Packers are indeed in talks to negotiate a contract, the Packers know that if Lazard asks for a salary they deem to be too high, they can simply end negotiations. This would force Lazard to either sign his tender or sit out and not get paid for the upcoming season. It will be fascinating to see how this situation plays out but it is still likely that Lazard will be a part of the Packers in 2022.——————
Pierson Beatty is a lifelong Packers fan and Journalism student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. You can follow him on twitter at @pierson_gbp .