Many Green Bay Packers fans were losing their damn minds about free agency. (Seems to be an ongoing with Wisconsin sports these days.) Expecting the Packers to sign every single free agent out there is maddening and unrealistic. (There’s a salary cap for a reason.) Then yesterday happened and Packers fans were rejoicing. Mo Wilkerson and Jimmy Graham are signing with the Packers. Finally the free agency moves they’ve been craving. Then, reality hit. As a result of the signings, (and that pesky salary cap I mentioned earlier.) someone had to go in order to make room. That player was Jordy Nelson.
The mood was somber in the Green Bay and Fox Valley area. It was almost like someone had died. Jordy has been productive and a great asset both on and off the field. How could the Packers let go of HIM?!
The harsh reality is; Jordy is turning 33, lost speed after his ACL tear, and had a cap hit of almost $11 million. In the NFL, that math does not add up. The Packers did in fact ask Jordy about a pay cut, to which Jordy declined. Some fans (and commentators like Stephen A. Smith) will lead you to believe there was no communication with Jordy from the front office’s way. Some believe this was an easy, heartless decision by Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst. It wasn’t and if you watched his press conference (something Ted Thompson would have NEVER done) you’d see the respect and admiration the organization has for Jordy. You’ll also notice the pain in this decision.
The business side of the NFL isn’t always an easy one. Sometimes in order to get better, you have to let go of some impact players. Jordy can still find the holes in zones with ease and still has some of the best hands in the NFL. He will land on his feet. You can have it both ways. You can’t keep someone who’s skill set is being to erode and still pay them as a top receiver AND expect to sign other free agents in areas of need that will lead to team success.
No one will forget Jordy Nelson. His legacy will withstand the test time. He is a surefire Packers Hall of Famer, and still has some football left in him. The Packers’ overarching needs were bigger than just one player. You essentially were able to take care of two area of need (signing Wilkerson and Graham) by making this move. It had to be done.
This is a life lesson for all. To experience the joy of the team getting better, you have to endure the pain of losing.