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Jordy Nelson was more than just a receiver

Posted Mar 14, 2018

To Packers fans, he was simply "Jordy"


Edwin from Madison, WI

What a week, huh?

And it’s only Wednesday. Good morning.

Jen from Centennial, CO

Sorry to see Jordy go. Great guy. What's your favorite Jordy memory?

Too many to count. His breakthrough performance in Super Bowl XLV. His 60-yard game-winning catch in Chicago. When the Jets had absolutely no answer for him during his 209-yard performance in 2014. My favorite interview with him was last year coming back from the ACL tear. Nelson doesn’t like to talk about himself, but you could tell how much it meant to him to get back on the field. That’s a tough road for a receiver north of 30 years old. What he did in 2016 will go down as one of the most remarkable comebacks in Packers history.

Tom from Dunkerton, IA

The Gutekunst era has officially begun.

Tuesday was an active day for the Packers, but trust me, Brian Gutekunst doesn’t make these moves hastily. This is the culmination of months of debate inside those meeting rooms.

Brian from Cameron, WI

Days like this are one of the few where I don't envy your job. Jordy will be deeply missed. Keep up the good work, Insiders!

It doesn’t compare to what these personnel guys go through on a daily basis. The confidence and moxie those individuals have to sign, release and draft players is off the charts. There are no “overall” ratings to go off of like Madden. It’s all instinct and intuition.

Jason from Billings, MT

I was elated to see that the Pack plan to sign Graham, but then looked at my phone 20 minutes later to see they cut Jordy. Free agency is a cruel mistress.

Jordy Nelson was more than just a receiver to Packers fans. He was everything you could ask for in an ambassador of Packers football. He was a natural leader, even if he didn’t want to be. Well-respected among his peers, Nelson was the Packers’ NFLPA rep for years. He also is humble to a fault. We get tons of emails every day asking about players. Most fans will use last names to quickly reference players in a question or comment – Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Cobb, Daniels and Montgomery. Nelson was different. To fans, he was simply “Jordy.”

Matt from Roseville, MI

With the Packers cutting Jordy, do you see a replacement on the roster, will they draft one or the possibility of bringing him back on a smaller deal? He was one of my favorite players, sad to see a player of his quality let go.

The Packers have talented players in the pipeline. Geronimo Allison, Trevor Davis, Michael Clark and DeAngelo Yancey have a golden opportunity in front of them. However, no one player can fill the shoes of Jordy Nelson. He’s a rare breed and I wish him well in whatever the future holds, both personally and professionally.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

Jordy was my all-time favorite player. As a fan, it sucks seeing him get cut even more because the majority of his last season was without Rodgers. The connection they had on the field was incredible and I will miss watching it.

What those two had was something special. You can’t coach that kind of chemistry. Their decade run together was the longest active partnership between a quarterback and receiver in the NFL. If you’d indulge me, I’d like to share probably my favorite quote from Rodgers about his relationship with Nelson. It’s from an interview I did with him in October 2016. “It’s a very dry, cerebral-type of humor between the two of us. … I think we’re both small-town guys. I grew up in small towns across Northern California and he grew up in a small town in Kansas. We both believe in hard work paying off and trying to play this game, and beat people with your brain a lot of times.” Man, did they do a lot of that over the years. They played the game at a higher level than most.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

I'm sure your Inbox is flooded with outrage over Jordy's release. And I guess you could include me as well. However, to be fair to Gutekunst, what are the positives of this move? Is it to clear cap space?

It was strictly a dollars-and-cents move. The Packers needed space and parting ways with Nelson was what the front office felt was the lesser of all evils.

Andy from Walpole, MA

Man, it really is a business, isn't it? Well, we'll miss him and we'll wish him the best wherever he goes. I can't think of a personnel move by the Packers in all the years I've been following them that seems as wrong as this one.

There’s no question this one stings, but I’d also remind you the Packers once traded a Hall of Fame quarterback to move forward with a relatively unproven Aaron Rodgers. You don’t know until you know, Andy.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

I remember the day Jordy Nelson was drafted. They interviewed the Kansas State coach on TV, he said "You are going to love that kid up there." He could not have been more right. I think I'll enjoy a big bowl of Jordy Flakes this morning.

He hit it right on the head and Jordy Flakes were pretty good, by the way. I had a box or two myself in my kitchen cabinet.

Donny from Green Bay, WI

Is the release of Nelson a smokescreen, like when the Packers cut A.J. Hawk a few years ago, only to re-sign him the next day at a lower number?

The Packers cut Hawk in 2011 because of a salary issue related to the final year of his rookie contract, which stemmed from his fifth-overall selection in the pre-CBA era. Ted Thompson even said in the news release announcing the move that Green Bay was “hopeful that we can continue to work with” him. This move with Nelson seems more finite.

Mark from Illinois

Any chance Jordy gets a new contract?

Gutekunst said it’s unlikely at the moment. However, it is worth pointing out James Jones eventually made his way back to Green Bay. “Never say never.”

Joe from Kansas City, MO

Well, Cliff Christl's article on Lombardi being willing to let players go was timely. The decision to let Jordy go may make cap sense, but it's not going to be popular.

These decisions never are.

John from Henderson, KY

Good afternoon. I can only imagine how flooded the Inbox is today. Putting all my emotions aside, I’m curious what factors go into cutting Jordy Nelson rather than trading him for draft picks or another player? I didn’t know if it has something to do with his contract status, or if a trade for another player or pick puts the Packers in an unfavorable condition. Best of luck to Jordy. I’ll sure miss seeing him in green and gold, as will my dog. His name is also Jordy.

You think you know, but you have no idea. Comments were trickling in throughout the day before news broke…and then earthquake. It’s not as simple to trade a player as some might think. The reality is Nelson will turn 33 in May and is coming off a year in which he had 482 receiving yards in 15 games. Teams prefer to structure their own deals rather than absorbing pre-existing contracts.

Tinger from Red Wing, MN

Jordy is gone because he made a huge salary last year and gave up when Rodgers got hurt. You cannot do that in this league. He’s been great, will make the Packers HOF in a cakewalk, but he failed to step it up when they needed him to.

This is the most foolish thing I’ve read. Say what you want about how the season ended for the Packers, but I can assure you Nelson didn’t give up. I mean 14 months ago he played with broken ribs. The guy was the heartbeat of that locker room. He put it on the line each time he stepped on the field. Give up? Give me a break.

Dave from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Last name is Nielsen. Named the dog Jordy. We thought that was cute. Not sure what to do now. I’m kinda bummed out.

Hey, Jordy Nielsen isn’t going anywhere. Be sure to give him an extra treat today.

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

No matter how much you love the guy and all he stands for, it's still a business, right?

That’s the unfortunate truth of the matter.

Mike from Jacksonville, NC

I guess if you want your team to be more aggressive in free agency, you can’t expect to keep every fan favorite.

As another commenter – Scott from Miamisburg, OH – wrote in last night – business just got real.

Fred from La Crosse, WI

I’ve been an admirer of No. 87 from the time he was drafted. I am hoping the best for him. When a player is released what is the upside for them?

They’re free to sign wherever they so choose. Nelson, for the first time in his career, is a free agent.

Peter from Madison, WI

You thought you were done with questions about No. 88 didn’t you?

I don’t want to talk about it.

Leo from Kenosha, WI

Why do I have to go to the NFL site to get the newest news on the Packers? I would think this site would be the first place to get the news, but I see we waived Nelson and are expected to sign Graham. Not even mentioned on here as of yet. Why, I just don’t get it?

NFL teams aren’t permitted to announce unrestricted free-agent signings until the new league year begins at 3 p.m. CT Wednesday. That’s why Gutekunst wouldn’t address any Damarious Randall questions Tuesday. So hold your horses, Uncle Leo. I will say Graham is a unique talent. Paraphrasing an old Ted Thompson quote, the good lord just didn’t create a whole lot of men who are 6-foot-7, 265 pounds. His track record speaks for itself.

Rob from Lafayette, IN

That D-line, though.

The Packers used a beefed-up D-line to spur their last defensive turnaround in 2009. This has the makings to follow in those footsteps. Business is about to pick up.

Earl from Cheboygan, MI

What is Jeff Janis’ status with GB?

He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in a few hours. That’s all that’s really known at the moment. There are levels to free agency. It may take some time for Janis’ situation to sort itself out.

Daniel from Eau Claire, WI

Are these next few days an equivalent to journalism hell for sports writers (specifically NFL Network and ESPN writers)? With what's shaping up to be the most active NFL free agency ever, the baseball season starting to heat up, March Madness kicking off, and last and very much least, the beginning of the MLS season. Do sports writers even think about sleep in times like these?

I didn’t. I always was restless. My favorite memory has to be sitting at the kitchen table of espn.com’s Rob Demovsky, my former colleague at the Press-Gazette, in March 2015. I think Bryan Bualga had just re-signed with the Packers, which made for an already long day. I was just about to head home for the night when news broke that Randall Cobb had signed a new four-year deal. So I left Rob’s and headed back to the Press-Gazette office. I wrote that story on like a 20-minute deadline, I believe. The opening day of free agency and night before the final roster reduction were always the two nights I slept the least.

Cody from Wisconsin Dells, WI

Does not having a strong chance at substantial compensatory picks in next year’s draft factor in deciding to sign more free agents this offseason?

There also have been years when the Packers only lost one significant unrestricted free agent (Casey Hayward in 2016) and still opted to go the way of “street” free agents (Jared Cook and Lerentee McCray). This doesn’t appear to be one of those years, though.

Jason from Sioux Center, IA

No question, just a comment: While it hurts to see a guy like Jordy go, and only time will tell if Gute was right, I am encouraged to see that he has the guts to make an unpopular decision if he believes it will benefit the team.

There’s always a price to improve. Never forget that.

Rick from Des Moines, IA

What are fans more nervous about during the year, before free agency, before the draft, or before the start of the season?

Before the season, before free agency and before the draft in that order.

George from North Mankato, MN

If reports are correct, the Vikings will sign Kirk Cousins to a lucrative contract. More interesting is that they look to be losing three free agent QBs this offseason. Has this ever happened before?

Not for the combined amount of money Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater reportedly are going to sign for. Monopoly money getting thrown around.

Don from Cedar Rapids, IA

The Packers gave me very little confidence in their third-down defense last season, whether in short-, medium- or long-yardage situations. How did they end up ranking last year in third-down defense? What do they need to do to improve?

The Packers finished 28th in third-down defense. I’d say they need more pressure on the quarterback and across-the-board improvement on defending the screen. This D-line could be an X-factor, though.

Nicholas from Portland, OR

I know people aren’t high on Kizer, but I watched a highlight reel of his rookie season and the kid can ball. He made some really strong throws (including a few against the Packers). Of course I didn’t see the bad, which I suspect was pretty awful given the winless season, but to me his ceiling looks really high.

Kizer was a second-round pick for a reason. He has the talent. A few years ago, people weren’t high on Alex Smith and Case Keenum, either. Now, they’re two of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the game. Experience is the most powerful teacher. Let the guy get some.

Russ from Billings, MT

Gentlemen, with Joe Callahan being tendered, one has to believe that the powers must have more faith in him than we were led to believe in 2017. Might there be a three-way competition for the backup job going on after the disappointment last year?

The Packers did one-year deals with most of their practice-squad signings last season. Tendering Callahan or any of the 10 free agents with fewer than three accrued seasons is just a formality. Callahan has been in the system for (most of) the past two years and deserves a chance to compete.

Pat from Howell, NJ

If the Browns take a QB at No. 1, would you consider trading up with the Giants at No. 2 to select Saquon Barkley despite having Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery at RB? The Packers have the most picks in the draft (12) and the Giants have the fewest (five).

No, because the Packers likely would need to move picks from next year’s draft to make it happen. The draft-value chart says New York’s No. 2 pick is worth 2,600 points. The value of all the Packers’ 2018 picks combined? 2,002.5.

Robert from Saint Joseph, MI

Do you think there will ever be an NHL or college hockey game played at Lambeau Field?

There already has been a men’s college hockey game played at Lambeau Field. The University of Wisconsin hosted Ohio State on Feb. 11, 2006. NHL? Maybe someday.

Al from Green Bay, WI

My phone keeps buzzing with alerts of the latest multi-million dollar free-agent deal. Between that and the occasional work interruption, how am I supposed to get my bracket done?

The struggle is real.

Sean from DeSoto, TX

Mike took time off again didn't he…

No, this time I did…and I paid for it.


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