Packers should have done more to keep Jordy Nelson

Green Bay Packers, Jordy Nelson (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jordy Nelson (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers should have done more to keep wide receiver Jordy Nelson.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is extremely pleased with the way Jordy Nelson is contributing to their team thus far. Great. Absolutely great.

Carr had a few things to say about Nelson:

“Jordy is very detailed. He wants to do everything exactly how you want it done,” Carr said, according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I see why Aaron loved throwing him the ball. He knows if you’re comfortable, you’ll throw it to them. I think all the guys are taking note of that.”

It just keeps getting better and better.

To all the Raider fans out there: I’m being sarcastic.

Jordy had played in a Packers uniform since 2008 and was a big part of Green Bay’s success in the 10 years he played with the team. He quickly hit it off with Aaron Rodgers, and their chemistry soon shaped up to a Super Bowl win in 2010. So naturally, the jump from 2018-2019 would have been no difference… right?

On March 13, 2018, the Green Bay Packers shocked the world when they decided to release Nelson. After going through so much with the player, the decision to release Nelson serves the purpose of clearing up cap space.

The Packers signed Muhammad Wilkerson and Jimmy Graham, and honestly those moves serve a good purpose, so I could see why they were looking to make some room. But I just couldn’t see them giving up a crucial part of the team, especially one of Rodgers’ favorite targets, in the process.

Often in the NFL, we can see the several franchises build around a franchise quarterback (depending on their perspective on who that is) in the offseason and in the draft, by making moves to sign some of the best wide receivers and tight ends available.

Take the Cowboys’ efforts to surround Dak Prescott, the man they believe will be their franchise quarterback, with the best weapons and protection possible. Currently, their plan is to build around his potential. And no matter how much talent you sign, chemistry plays a crucial role in the success a team has with its quarterback and receivers.

Now, look at Dez Bryant and the Cowboys. With so much talent, the wide receiver should have been a great asset to this team. Yet, Bryant couldn’t hit it off with Prescott.

No matter how much talent a receiver like Bryant can bring, the relationship with the quarterback is valuable. Frankly, its rare to see a receiver and quarterback really hit it off and make an immediate impact together on the field.

That exact statement leads into the reason why releasing Jordy was a mistake. Nelson obviously had an amazing relationship with Rodgers, and that led to a tremendous amount of success for both players.

Among wide receivers, Nelson is in the top five in receptions, yards, and touchdowns in Packers franchise history. Among quarterbacks, Rodgers is known as the greatest on the planet, and maybe even to ever throw the football.

However, I truly believe that Rodgers wouldn’t have been able to grandstand his talent if it weren’t for Nelson. As Rodgers prepares for his return next season, being able to throw to Nelson may have been the best thing for him to get back into the feel of things, especially in the regular season. Now, not only does he have to come back from an injury, he has to work with some new faces in the locker room.

To be fair, Graham and Wilkerson are great players, who helped the Packers fill some of the gaps on the roster. Additionally, it was known that before Green Bay inked contracts with these players, some cap space had to be cleared. But the key piece to the puzzle is that Nelson was ready to take a pay cut. If they were able to restructure his contract, maybe even cut some players that weren’t showing any promise moving forward (Clay Matthews for example), the Packers could have kept #87.

Consequently, the Packers drafted three wide receivers this year, in effort to make up some lost ground at the position. Critics may argue that Randall Cobb and Davante Adams are a blessing in the first place, and that many teams would dream of such a combination.

But the reason Nelson was crucial to this team was his leadership and experience. The Raiders seem to be ecstatic by the lessons he has taught to their young receivers, and what value that brings to a team.

Additionally, in the NFL, discipline is so important. Take Johnny Manziel for example, a former first-round pick who now plays football in Canada.

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When looking at the new group of receivers, a mentor like Jordy Nelson could have been the best person to pass on a few things. At this point, it’s just a matter of what “could have been” for some of the new pass catchers in the Packers locker room.