14 March, 2018
The Green Bay Packers are signing arguably the best tight end in free agency while parting ways with one of their most experienced team leaders.
The 32-year-old Nelson was scheduled to make $10.25 million in salary and bonuses in the final season of a four-year, $39 million contract. A second-round pick in 2008 from Kansas State, he's hauled in 550 passes for 7,848 yards and 69 touchdowns.
Nelson has been Aaron Rodgers's favorite target for virtually their entire careers with the Packers. He was a vital part of the Superbowl XLI, catching a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.
The Packers have agreed to sign free agent tight end Jimmy Graham, according to multiple reports. That deal is expected to become official on Wednesday afternoon.
First-year general manager Brian Gutekunst called Nelson "one of the great Packers who played here".
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Although there are no plans to bring Nelson back at the moment, Gutekunst believes Nelson will "contribute for someone next year" and didn't shut the door on a possible reunion somewhere down the line. He later was honored as the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
In three seasons with the Seahawks, Graham played in 45 games, recorded 176 receptions for 2,104 yards and 18 touchdowns. "We wish Jordy, his wife Emily, and the rest of their family all the best". He saw significantly less playing time than Graham or Willson, but still doubled his production from his rookie season to finish with 12 catches for 124 yards and one touchdown.
"I'm told Jordy Nelson knew he was being released and that he was already targeting the Patriots as a potential suitor".
Nelson is the only receiver in Packers history to produce three 13-plus TD campaigns and joins Sterling Sharpe as the only Packer with three 85-plus catch seasons.