Jordy Nelson interviewed with ESPN Milwaukee yesterday for the first time since he was released by the Packers.
A variety of topics were covered, but the main one everyone is focused on is the manner in which the Packers went about releasing him.
Nelson said that he was “hurt” that the Packers would not find a way to make a contract work. It appears Nelson was willing to take a substantial pay cut in order to stay with the only franchise he has ever known.
This backs up the story James Jones told after Nelson was released that the Packers gave Nelson a “low-ball” offer.
Since those stories have come out many have weighed in with their opinions. The consensus is the Packers gave Nelson a raw deal.
In a perfect world it would have been nice for Nelson to be able to finish his career in Green Bay.
Unfortunately, perfect worlds do not exist. That’s how Peyton Manning plays for the Broncos and Brett Favre plays for the Jets.
With all due respect to Nelson he did not mean near as much to his franchise that the aforementioned names did.
Nelson was a great Packers’ receiver. He still had some value, but it was clear the Packers thought he could not play anymore.
If the Packers believed Nelson was still capable of producing at a high level, they would have worked on a contract.
They did not, so he is playing in Oakland.
That’s the move that was best for both the franchise and Nelson. While Nelson may not see it now, he should remember a similar situation when he was with the team in 2012.
Donald Driver was the aging Packers’ receiver at that time. Driver was beloved by the fan base. His first down celebration was mimicked throughout the stadium when he caught a big third down pass.
Driver’s final year in Green Bay it was clear there was a changing of the guard. Nelson, along with Greg Jennings, James Jones, and Randall Cobb had all passed him on the depth chart. The Packers also had tight end Jermichael Finley on the roster at the time.
They had a plethora of pass catching options, and there stood Driver on the sideline.
He was once a great player. Now, he was aging and injuries started to pile up.
Driver rarely played. He was even inactive for a home playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.
The following week he played on the punt team as a way to keep himself on the game day active list.
Fans gathered what was happening earlier in the season. They would cheer loudly whenever Driver came onto the field.
Driver had been reduced from number one receiver, to a team mascot.
Driver may never publicly admit it, but that would be a bruise to anyone’s ego.
Based on the Packers’ contract offer to Nelson, it’s clear that’s about how they feel about him.
They were looking to get better at wide receiver this offseason. Allen Robinson was offered a substantial deal before signing with the Chicago Bears.
Jordan Matthews has visited. It remains unclear if he will sign.
What is clear, is the Packers believed their previous regime at receiver simply could not get the job done anymore.
They want to get younger and more explosive at the position. That’s impossible to do while giving 90 percent of the snaps to an aging player.
Nelson is likely to have suffered the same fate as Driver had he stuck around in Green Bay.
Mike McCarthy knew that. Brian Gutekunst knew that. Russ Ball knew that. That’s why they made the decision to let him go.
He was no longer in their plans.
Sometimes the business portion of the game sucks. It hurts players and fans alike.
This time, however, it will eventually be seen as the right move for all sides involved.