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Which Free-Agent Addition Will Have the Biggest Impact on the Jets in 2023?

Joe Douglas Added a Pair of Wideouts in March


Throughout the offseason, reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Caroline Hendershot will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.

Today's question: Which free-agent addition will have the biggest impact on the Jets in 2023?

EA: Allen Lazard. After having appeared in 57 games for the Packers from 2018-22, Lazard has the benefit of starting over without starting anew. Reuniting with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and QB Aaron Rodgers, this is a unique situation for Lazard. Last season as Rodgers' No. 1 target, Lazard was targeted 100 times and led the Packers in receptions (60) and receiving yards (788) and finished second in receiving TDs (6). Rodgers will have a new No. 1 this season in Garrett Wilson, but the emerging star will demand proper attention and that should mean favorable matchups for Lazard. Ultimately this game is about scoring points and Lazard had 14 receiving TDs in 2021-22. He is a big-bodied receiver (6-5, 227) who will continue to be an inviting target for Rodgers when things get tight in the red zone and he's also a tenacious blocker in the run game. 

EG: There's a smaller pool to pick from than recent years, but it's hard to not to say Allen Lazard. Lazard led the Packers with 60 receptions, 788 yards and 6 touchdowns last season. He already has a rapport with QB Aaron Rodgers and will play alongside Garrett Wilson, who will draw attention from opposing defenses. Lazard is a red-zone threat at 6-5, 227 and a reliable target who has earned Rodgers' trust throughout their time in Green Bay and is also familiar with Nathaniel Hackett's offense. I think most of the Green & White's additions will have significant impacts on the 2023 team.

See the top images of the Jets during the 2023 offseason program.

RL: Mecole Hardman Jr. is my choice for biggest-impact Jets free agent. The UFA from KC has 4.33 speed in the 40, making him the fastest of any Jets WR who had a lasting impact on the team since Santana Moss, who came to the Jets with 4.31 speed in 2001. Hardman's 8.3 YAC average is second-best among all NFL wideouts since 2019. He's one of the league's most explosive players in those past four years with 32 plays of 20-plus yards, all in fewer than 200 touches. And he wants the ball more to do more magical things. What more can a Jets fan ask for? Oh, well, yes, a continued uncomplicated rehab from his early-offseason core surgery and a quick chemistry catchup with Aaron Rodgers in August. If those things happen, watch him turn on the jets in September and beyond.

CH: Allen Lazard. To me, adding Lazard was the key piece in helping this new offense. Not only has he played for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and his system for three years in Green Bay, but he was also QB Aaron Rodgers' go-to wideout during their time together. Lazard will be the perfect liaison between the new scheme, Rodgers' preferences and the rest of the players on offense. By bringing Lazard to the Jets, it will help the offense integrate the new system and new QB more effectively and quickly. I am sure he will be a mentor for young receivers like Garrett Wilson and others throughout training camp, and help bring their game to the next level.

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