Allen Lazard might prevent NY Jets from bringing back Corey Davis

Corey Davis is back...but it might not be with the Jets
Allen Lazard
Allen Lazard / Chris Pedota, / USA

The NY Jets received massive news on Thursday as wide receiver Corey Davis officially applied for reinstatement to the NFL after a year away from the game. Davis is returning from a brief retirement, but it might not be to play for the Jets.

Rumors that Davis could return have been swirling for months, and reports have suggested that the door has consistently been left open if the former first-round pick wanted to return to the sport in 2024.

ESPN's Field Yates is reporting that the Jets are expected to release Davis from the reserve/retired list but that a return to New York is very much on the table. The release allows Davis to negotiate a new contract and potentially explore other opportunities.

While the Jets have made it clear that they'd love to have Davis back, there might be one obstacle standing in the way. That obstacle is Allen Lazard.

Allen Lazard is standing in the way of a NY Jets, Corey Davis reunion

The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt is reporting that while there's still a chance that Davis returns to the Jets, it "probably" won't happen with Lazard on the roster, given that both players occupy the same role.

The bad news is that there's really no easy way for the Jets to part ways with Lazard this offseason. Lazard is set to count a little over $12 million against the cap in 2024. Releasing him would carry a dead cap hit of over $18 million.

That means the Jets would be paying over $6 million more if they released Lazard as opposed to just keeping him on the roster. This isn't an option — the Jets aren't cutting him.

The only other option would be to trade Lazard, although it's hard to imagine the Jets would be able to find a trade partner. Lazard's contract runs through 2026 and still has a good amount of guaranteed money on it.

The Jets would also be forced to take on considerable dead cap if he was traded. This option is possible, but it doesn't seem likely. That said, the Jets have reportedly made Lazard available in trade talks, per Rosenblatt.

Ultimately, the Jets shouldn't be making any roster decisions based on Lazard at this stage. The former Green Bay Packers wide receiver was an unmitigated disaster in his first season with the team and should not be relied on as anything of note in the Jets' offense in 2024.

Ideally, the Jets would bring Davis back as their WR2 or WR3 and relegate Lazard to WR4 duties. They may be stuck with his contract for at least another year, but that doesn't mean they have to play him.

The Jets should absolutely do everything they can to bring back Corey Davis now that he's officially unretired. They can't let Lazard stand in their way.