Aaron Rodgers’ favorite receiving target, Allen Lazard, had interest from the Broncos before he signed with the Jets for four years and $44 million — with $22 million of that guaranteed — on March 14 per theScore’s Jordan Schultz.
Sources: #Broncos were also very aggressive in their pursuit of WR Allen Lazard, but likely would have had to make a trade. Denver really values his toughness and route-running. @theScore https://t.co/HajPOzr8MV
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 15, 2023
Lazard was targeted by Rodgers 100 times in 2022, which was 34 more than any other Packers receiver. The 27-year-old wideout caught six end zone targets, which was second only to rookie Christian Watson’s seven receiving touchdowns.
Benjamin Albright of KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM in Denver confirmed Schultz’ report that the Broncos were in on Lazard.
Yes, the Broncos did pursue WR Allen Lazard.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 15, 2023
Why the Broncos Pursued Allen Lazard
According to the Mile High Report’s Scotty Payne, Lazard was coveted by the Broncos because of his ability to run-block.
“Now, why would the Broncos be interested in Allen Lazard?” Payne asked. “He is another big wide receiver with a similar skill set to Sutton and Tim Patrick,” Payne prefaced before saying, “However, the one major difference between Lazard and those two is his run blocking. Lazard is known as one of the better run-blocking wide receivers in the NFL and this has been a trait that Payton and Paton have coveted in their free agents thus far.”
Payne doesn’t believe Denver is done adding to its receiving corps in free agency with the franchise reportedly shopping Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and K.J. Hamler per ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
Sources with multiple teams believe the Broncos could trade a WR. Denver has had talks with teams about Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. Teams say the Broncos are asking high prices, not just dumping, but it’s not out of the question one gets moved.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) March 13, 2023
“I do not think we are done with changes happening at wide receiver,” Payne said. “If the Broncos were willing to pay that much for Lazard, they may have a few other moves up their sleeve. I also think the odds of them trading a receiver or two continue to go up.”
Courtland Sutton Would’ve Been Odd Man Out For Broncos
Had the Broncos landed Lazard, Payne believes Sutton would’ve been the odd man out in Denver’s receiver room.
“If the Broncos were to agree to terms with Lazard, one of those three, likely Sutton and his contract, would have to go,” Payne wrote. “So, the odds of a potential Courtland Sutton trade continue to increase.”
According to KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM’s Albright, Sutton’s asking price would be low — as in a single draft pick during the NFL draft’s third day low.
KOA #Broncos & #NFL Insider @AllbrightNFL: I wouldn’t be surprised if (the Broncos) ultimately dealt Courtland Sutton, got back a Day 3 draft pick out of it. 👀
Listen to the KOA Sports Zoo on @KOAColorado weekdays at 3pm‼️ pic.twitter.com/F6nLfUtzm2
— KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM (@KOAColorado) March 14, 2023
Sutton has an $18 million cap hit for the 2023 season, but his contract has an out clause in the 2024 offseason.