Former Packers wideout Jordy Nelson signed a two-year, $15 million deal with the Raiders, Thursday.
His departure from Green Bay was somewhat surprising, given the shared affinity between the player and organisation, but that reportedly went out the window during contract negotiations.
Nelson's former teammate, James Jones, broke the news of his deal with Oakland, before revealing that the Packers made him an embarrassing contract offer.
Jones, who now works as an analyst for the NFL Network, won a Super Bowl with the Packers alongside Nelson, and also joined the Raiders as a free agent in 2014.
It appears the Packers didn't make much of a push to retain Nelson though, as Jones told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein:
“I’m not going to say what they offered him, but they really, really low-balled him,” Jones said. “It wasn’t even anything you would consider. Even with all that, he was still considering taking it.”
Green Bay parted ways with Nelson to clear over $10 million in cap space, but it appears the Packers fifth leading receiver of all time desperately wanted to stay. So much so that he considered signing a terrible contract, according to Jones anyway.
Even if the Packers front office were willing to let Nelson walk, his great friend Aaron Rodgers clearly had difficulty accepting the decision, taking to Instagram to express his love for number 87:
The pair have been a devastating combination over their 10 years together statistically, and will go down as one of the best QB-WR duo's in modern NFL history. Throwing to Nelson, Rodgers has 6,919 yards (9.8 yards per attempt) on 470 completions out of 705 attempts for a completion rate of 66.7%, 65 touchdowns and just nine interceptions, as well as 324 total first downs and a passer rating of 123.9.
Those are phenomenal numbers, and ones that Nelson still believes he can put up:
"If you look two years ago, the year I won NFL Comeback Player of the Year coming off my ACL, I was still productive – 1,200 yards, 14 touchdowns," Nelson said, via the East Bay Times.
"I think we had a lot of different things going on last year that obviously affected that. I can still run. I can still catch. Football, at this level, a lot of people focus on speed, but I ran a 4.5 coming out of college so I wasn't blazing then either. It's different when you get helmet and shoulder pads on. I think I can do that. I can make plays."
Per ESPN Wisconsin, the Packers asked Nelson to take a pay cut from his 2018 base salary of $9.25 million down to the veteran minimum of $1.1 million.
Jones clearly agrees that his long time friend deserved better from the Packers, saying: “He’s given the organization everything he has, at least give him one more season...It’s not going to hurt the team. He’s going to help you. He could have given you one more year.
“But at the end of the day, it’s a business. You should never be surprised. I’ve seen Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson and so many other people get released.”
Nelson will be looking to form a strong partnership with his new QB in Oakland, Derek Carr, and help the Raiders make a strong playoff push in Jon Gruden's first season back in charge.
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