Packers extend second-round tender to restricted free-agent receiver Allen Lazard; Oren Burks to 49ers
GREEN BAY - After he finished last season as their undisputed second receiver, the Green Bay Packers gave Allen Lazard a significant investment Tuesday.
The Packers placed a second-round tender on Lazard, a source confirmed to PackersNews. The tender comes with a $3.986 million salary in 2022, after which Lazard is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Lazard can sign an offer sheet with another team until April 22, but that team would be required to send the Packers a second-round pick.
Barring that unlikely event, Lazard will return as the Packers' second receiver behind All-Pro Davante Adams in 2022. Lazard, long valued for his blocking, had his best receiving season last fall. He caught 40 passes for 513 yards and eight touchdowns in his fourth season, all career highs.
Lazard had a breakout in the season's second half, catching five touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers in the final five regular-season games.
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The second-round tender is a sign of how much value Lazard has accrued with the Packers. It was important to retain Lazard with Marquez Valdes-Scantling likely entering free agency. A source told PackersNews there has been minimal traction with the Packers and Valdes-Scantling on a new deal.
The Packers are taking a one-year approach to their receiver position. They placed a franchise tag on Adams, who will be paid roughly $20 million in 2022 if he doesn't hold out. The Packers can still work out a long-term contract with Lazard, but if not he will play on a one-year deal this season. The only receiver on their roster with multiple years left on their contract is 2021 third-round pick Amari Rodgers.
Oren Burks moving on to 49ers
As the Packers try to rebuild their special teams from the basement level, they'll be without one of their core special teamers of the past few seasons.
Linebacker Oren Burks announced Tuesday on Twitter he will sign with the San Francisco 49ers. Burks, a former third-round pick, never became the cover-specialist linebacker the Packers hoped when the converted safety arrived out of Vanderbilt. He was slow to diagnose plays, a sloppy tackler and too often failed to meet his assignment.
But Burks' size and speed lent itself to special teams. He led the Packers with 337 special-teams reps in 2021, his second straight season leading that unit in playing time. In his four seasons, Burks always finished among the Packers' top three in special-teams reps.
Burks' departure was expected because of cost-cutting measures for the Packers, who are strapped against the salary cap. The void he leaves is one the Packers could address in the draft, given their need to rebuild special teams.
Packers awarded two compensatory picks
The Packers received a pair of compensatory picks Tuesday, giving them 11 in next month's draft.
They received a fourth-round pick (No. 140 overall) after losing center Corey Linsley, a first-team All-Pro last season, in free agency to the Los Angeles Chargers. They received a seventh-round pick (No. 258) after losing running back Jamaal Williams to the Detroit Lions.
The pair of picks now give them selections in the first (No. 28 overall), second (59), third (92), fourth (132 and 140), fifth (171) and seventh (228, 249 and 258) rounds, giving them nine total.