The Green Bay Packers cut big-name wideout Jordy Nelson on Tuesday, and the Raiders will be his first visit as he searches for a new NFL home, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken.
Nelson had been with the Packers since entering the league in 2008. New Raiders wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett served in the same position for Green Bay from 2011-14 before his promotion to offensive coordinator from 2015-17. Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie worked for the Packers’ front office when Nelson entered the league a decade ago.
In other words, Nelson has familiarity when it comes to the Bay Area team that has been quiet thus far before free agency officially kicks off Wednesday at 1 p.m. PST.
In his career, Nelson has 550 catches for 7,848 yards and 69 touchdowns. His production took a dip last season, though, and his numbers (catches, yards, touchdowns) went from 85, 1,314 and eight in 2013 to 98, 1,519 and 13 in 2014 to 97, 1,257 and 14 in 2016 – Nelson missed 2015 with a right knee injury. In 2017, Nelson caught only 53 passes for 482 yards and six touchdowns while quarterback Aaron Rodgers played only seven games due to injury.
David Carr, the older brother of Nelson’ would-be quarterback in Oakland, had some thoughts on how the Raiders should handle Nelson’s visit Wednesday.
Jordy can’t leave the building, make it happen, legally.#JohnQ
— David Carr (@DCarr8) March 14, 2018
The oldest Carr brother, Darren, also chimed in.
— Darren Carr (@DCarr75) March 14, 2018
Nelson will be 33 years old when next season starts and he’s coming off a down year, by all standards. In all likelihood, he wouldn’t command as much money as some other free-agent wide receivers will reportedly receive. Former Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson will reportedly get a three-year, $42 million deal from the Chicago Bears. Former Rams wideout Sammy Watkins is reportedly getting a three-year, $48 million deal from the Kansas City Chiefs. And, among others receiving an astronomic dollar figure given their value, former Washington receiver Ryan Grant – yes, Ryan Grant – will reportedly receive a four-year, $29 million contract from the Baltimore Ravens.
Without knowing what those mean for Nelson’s potential contract with the Raiders, let’s take a look at what his addition would look like for Oakland’s receiving corps.
If Nelson joins Oakland, the Review-Journal reported, Michael Crabtree’s release is expected. A hypothetical Amari Cooper-Nelson-Seth Roberts receiving trio is apparently an upgrade in Oakland’s eyes over a Cooper-30-year-old Crabtree-Roberts trio. Carr is certainly not at Rodgers level yet, but he’s shown flashes of potentially entering that quarterbacking stratosphere one day over the past couple seasons, and wouldn’t be too much of a drop-off for Nelson.
Crabtree caught 58 passes for 518 yards and eight touchdowns last season, serving as Carr’s primary red zone threat.
He’s owed $7 million in base salary in 2018 and $718,750 more in bonuses. His release would come with no dead money against the cap. Head coach Jon Gruden has singled out Crabtree as one of the reasons he took the Raiders job in the first place.
And whatever this is worth, according to several former teammates’ responses on Twitter after his release and others’ testaments, Nelson is considered a top-tier locker-room presence. We’ll see if he’s Oakland’s first big splash as free agency officially gets underway.
Source: East Bay Report: Raiders to host wide receiver Jordy Nelson on Wednesday