Jets undrafted free agent WR Lawrence Cager is chomping at the bit to line up with QB Sam Darnold for the first time since their high school all-star games.
"Me and him were always together. He was my quarterback," Cager said. "We built a relationship there and we've been friends ever since. I've been talking to him probably since the beginning of high school until now, so it's been a little relationship brewing.
"He's a great quarterback. I wanted to play with him at USC. Things didn't work out that way in high school, but I've always wanted to play with him. To get the opportunity at the highest level to play with a guy that you've been good friends with and wanted to play with for so long, now you have the opportunity to play with him, I couldn't ask for a better option. I really can't wait to step on the field and catch a fade from him."
Cager (6'5", 220) texted Darnold when he signed with the Jets and said the franchise QB replied, "let's go with a lot of exclamation points." Cager, however, chose the Green & White for more than just Darnold — he first attended the University of Miami with TE Chris Herndon and WR-PR Braxton Berrios before transferring for the 2019 season to Georgia, the alma mater for Jets assistant WRs coach Hines Ward. Cager is also extremely close to Van Jefferson, the son of Jets WRs coach Shawn Jefferson.
"During the whole draft process, I felt I had a great relationship with Coach Jefferson, Coach Hines, Coach [Adam] Gase, and I just felt like when I get to pick my options, why not go to a place where I feel like I have the most familiarity with the coaches," Cager said. "I think any time you can learn from a guy like Hines Ward, why wouldn't you? The guy was so productive in the league for many years, Super Bowl champion. It was like why not? He's a UGa grad. He had familiarity with the coaches at Georgia, how hard I worked and knows what type of work ethic I'd have coming in my rookie season. … I just knew the way Coach Jefferson coaches, you want to play with him.
"When you get an opportunity like that to have those two guys in your corner to be your head guys teaching you every day and be with them every day, I wouldn't pass that opportunity up for anything."
During an unprecedented time with a virtual offseason program, Cager is learning on the fly with his fellow rookies but uses his friends to his advantage.
"I don't know how many conversations I've had with Chris (Herndon) just about how to be a pro and how to attack coming in being a rookie in New York," he said. "To have a guy like him, one of my best friends, I know he gets tired of it, but I talk to him all the time and ask, 'Hey, what's this?' and ask him questions about special teams, the installs, stuff like that so I don't mess it up. He came in and had a great year and he's one of my close friends. I talk to Sam about other stuff, he's the smart one."