Air Jordy is still flying high for the Green Bay Packers.
Much has been made about his salary in the upcoming season.
At $12.52 million, according to Spotrac, the argument goes, he is not worth the cost. But Nelson is a special case, and remember he has said he is willing to take a pay cut. He has been just as productive with Rodgers in the lineup as before his injury.
Yes he is 32 and lost some of his burner speed due to injury, but his red-zone numbers are stellar.
With #12 under center Nelson not only led the league in TDs (14) but did it while earning the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2016. Then to open the 2017 season he was on pace to be even more prolific catching six touchdowns in the first five games, before Rodgers’ collarbone injury. That’s 20 touchdowns in his last 21 games (I left out the one comeback game Rodgers played in 2017) with the quarterback extraordinaire, and that my friends is grade A production.
The Rodgers-Nelson connection is not about Nelson’s value on the open market. Just like Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman under Favre, playing with a Hall-of-Fame quarterback makes you better. While you can cash-in elsewhere, the results are a significant drop in production.
Nelson’s value comes directly from his sometimes spooky, succinct connection to Rodgers. That is why you pay the man. For all the reps of the past that have bred the trust and cultivated a symbiotic relationship that results in the best QB/WR tandem in the NFL.
Comeback Player of the Year… Again
With Joe Philbin returning as offensive coordinator we could see a lot of different things in 2018. Don’t be too surprised if one is a second Comeback Player of the Year award for Nelson in a season when Rodgers wins a third NFL MVP.
On a personal note I wanted to give Jordy props for being the first one I heard to defend Dr. McKenzie and the Packers training staff against Martellus Bennett‘s highly unfounded allegations of malpractice.