Packers should have cut Clay Matthews instead of Jordy Nelson

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 18: Clay Matthews
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 18: Clay Matthews /

This is an issue that has quietly been floating around the Green Bay Packers fan base for a few years now, and it’s pretty dividing.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but a good portion of fans think Clay Matthews has become a liability to this team.

And this isn’t just a recent issue.

From the very start, he missed his first NFL training camp in 2009. In 2013. he had his worse year with injuries missing multiple games due to a hamstring injury and a broken thumb. In fact, only three times in his career has he played all 16 games of a season (2009, 2014, 2015).

In 2016, he played through a shoulder injury that should have sidelined him and was a key part in getting them to the NFC Championship Game that season.

New Season, New Era, Same Problems

All of that painful history brings us to this point.  We are just days into OTAs for the 2018 season, and who is at the very center of the non-participant list?

That’s right, the “Clay-Maker” himself.

Whether or not this is something serious or not is uncertain, but at the very least, it’s disheartening to see injuries like this here in May. Especially this year.

This is the big change year fans have waited for, with a new GM, new offensive and defensive coordinators, big free agency signings and a fresh new hope for a 14th title.

Despite all that, the offseason has had its downs too. Brian Gutekunst ripped the hearts out of so many fans by cutting Jordy Nelson. And what were the reasons for cutting him? Let’s review shall we?

Number 1: Lack of productivity

Nelson only caught six touchdowns last season, and had only 482 yards. Sure, that looks bad on paper, but up until Week 5 he was on pace for 12-plus TDs on the season.

Then Aaron Rodgers got hurt, and Brett Hundley was incapable of finding Nelson when he needed to. With Rodgers back healthy, it’s almost a certainty that Nelson would have bounced back in 2018.

Number 2: Cap hit

The main reason Nelson was cut was the $12 million cap hit that was coming in 2018. And that is true, something needed to be changed, but here is the other alternative that would have made a lot more sense.

While Clay Matthews is a walking hospital room when it comes to injuries, Nelson has played all 16 games in six out of his 10 seasons, and healed fully from a torn ACL in 2015.

Matthews is set for a $11.37 million cap hit this season, according to Spotrac. Just $1 million less than Nelson.

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Considering their productivity and value to the team, coupled with the almost identical cost to keep either one, an argument can, and should, be made that the Packers made a rather large mistake be cutting Nelson for money instead of Matthews.