Green Bay Packers highest priority: Jordy Nelson


The debate over whether the Green Bay Packers will re-sign wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb continued this week with mentions of the issue being sounded out across the Internet.

There were the arguments for Nelson; there were the arguments on behalf of Randall Cobb. There were those who said the Packers would be best off if they found a way to re-sign both of the receivers who will be coveted if or when they get to free agency. If they both stay healthy in 2014 and are as productive as they have been in the past, they will be in for huge paydays.

Packers GM Ted Thompson is well known for re-signing players prior to current contract expiration dates. He did it a few years ago with Nelson, locking him up during the prime of his career for well under what he is worth.

Will Thompson do the same with Cobb before he’s eligible for free agency? Will he pay Nelson what he’s worth and also try to re-sign Cobb?

While the logical move would be to lock down Cobb asap and work with the 30-year-old Nelson on crafting a contract that can benefit both him and the team, who knows how it will all turn out? I’m here to say that the Packers’ best priority would be to re-sign Nelson now – he is their number one receiver at this point in time and has a good 3-4 years in him.

Jordy Nelson is the Packers top priority.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Yes, Nelson has had injuries; yes, he is getting up there in age; yes, he’s had some drops in his career, but all one needs to do is look at the numbers he put up last year – during a season when he was forced to work with four separate quarterbacks. He also played much of his snaps from the slot when Cobb was out for more than half of the season with a fractured leg.

And despite the fact that he had four different guys throwing to him at a position where he hadn’t spent a lot of time, he still racked up the best year of his career. With 85 catches for 1,314 yards, one kind of scratches the head figuring out where all that production came from … Well, all one has to do is look at Aaron Rodgers.

The chemistry between Nelson and Rodgers is undeniable. Prior to Rodgers’ fractured collarbone last year, the two of them were on fire. After Rodgers went down, Nelson’s production declined by around 50 percent. In a post by  over at Pro Football Focus, he tells all about Nelson and Rodgers’ success together:

"With Rodgers at the helm in 2013 — Weeks 1-8 and Week 17 — Nelson was the third highest scoring fantasy receiver (172 points) in PPR leagues. On a points-per-game basis, he was the second highest scoring receiver in those weeks, behind only Calvin JohnsonDuring the Rodgers-less half of the season — Weeks 9-16 — Nelson scored 92 fantasy points and was the 30th highest scoring wide receiver."

Nelson caught eight of his nine touchdowns from Rodgers and accumulated just about 900 of his yards when Rodgers was throwing the ball. He had 56 of his 85 catches from Rodgers and had the two played an entire year together, Nelson would have scored 344 fantasy points. Demaryius Thomas ended 2013 as the fantasy leader among all receivers with 318.5 points.

So, what does this all mean for the 2014 Green Bay Packers?

Well, it means that Ted Thompson and the Packers’ chief contract negotiator, Russ Ball, have their work cut out for them. All they need to do is look at what Rodgers and Nelson have meant to the Packer offense to know what another 3-4 years together would mean for the entire franchise.

This is not to belittle or downplay the contributions made by Randall Cobb over the past three seasons.

Who can forget his work on punt and kick returns? His immediate impact on the offense? And, most importantly, who can forget him hauling in that touchdown pass with less than one minute remaining against the Bears last December?

Cobb is valued and the Packers should also find a way to re-sign him.

However, the team’s largest priority at the moment is to get Nelson to sign on the dotted line.

We want Jordy Nelson to spend his entire career with the Green Bay Packers and if the franchise can get him under one more contract, that may be possible.

Here are Nelson’s career statistics as provided by Pro Football Reference:

Jordy Nelson highlights for you viewing pleasure …