2. WR Allen Lazard
Yes, wide receiver is not nearly the need for the Lions it has been the last couple offseasons. But while DJ Chark has made his case to be back in Detroit next year with a nice late-season run, it’s hardly a guarantee. Even if he says the right things about wanting to be back, the market may bear solid fruit for him and effectively price the Lions out. Jameson Williams is also in line to take over his role next year, so how far will the Lions go to keep him?
Lazard has had ups and downs production-wise this season, but with one game to go (14 games played actually) he has set clear career highs in catches (56) and receiving yards (747) and targets (94).
The Packers will surely have some priority on bringing Lazard back. But they have some cap work to do if they want to do much of anything this offseason, and other teams may see untapped potential in him as he enters what can be a peak age stretch for wide receivers (he’s 27 years old).
Spotrac has tabbed Lazard’s market value in the $11 million per year range (slightly lower when accounting for age/production comps) right now, on a three-year projected deal. That should be doable for the Lions, and his prowess as a run blocker is certainly something they (and the rest of the league) has noticed.
Lazard drew a fine over $10,000 for some perceived taunting on this play Christmas Day against the Dolphins. But we all know we’d have done the same thing he did, after taking out three guys with one block.