Both the Green Bay Packers and Jordy Nelson probably took notice of the contract signed today by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who agreed to a new three-year $30 million extension with the team.
White, a four-time pro bowler, who was also entering the last year of his contract with the Falcons is 32 years old and is coming off an injury plagued season where he caught 63 passes for 711 yards and three touchdowns. Nelson, who is arguably a better receiver than White and is just 29, now has an even stronger negotiating position that before.
The Packers have said all along that getting a long-term contract done with Nelson was going to be a top priority and while some talks have taken place, they have not progressed. According to a post today by ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky, Nelson wants at least $10 million per year in his next contract and after White got the same amount, it’s hard to argue.
Over the past three seasons, Nelson has become one of the best receivers in the NFL and has averaged an impressive 1,107 yards and 10 touchdowns per year during that span. He also become Aaron Rodgers most trusted possession receiver, as he often looks Nelson’s way when the game is on the line.
Of course, the negotiation with Nelson is all the more complicated because fellow Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb is also set to become a free agent following the season, meaning the Packers not only are trying to lock up Nelson but Cobb as well.
The question the team must be asking itself is can it afford to pay both Nelson and Cobb in the $10 million range? Investing in that much money in your receiving core does sound a little over the top but when you think about it, the Packers have been preparing for this day for the past two seasons.
There is a reason why they let Greg Jennings go the Vikings and James Jones to the Raiders. They knew if they paid one of those guys, it would make it less likely to complete contracts with Nelson and Cobb.
Green Bay is fortunate enough to have an elite quarterback in his prime with two receivers that are among the 10-15 best in pro football, is that something the Packers can really afford to give up? That’s the $10 million question.
From this perspective, Green Bay should bite the bullet and pay because paying for high-end talent that puts points on the board is never a bad thing. Nelson deserves to be paid like an elite receiver because he is one and if the Packers fail to see that and let him go by low-balling him, it will be a mistake and one they will regret dearly.