Aaron Rodgers will be just fine on the field without Jordy Nelson, but the loss of his longtime target obviously hit him pretty hard in the feels.
The Green Bay Packers feel like they can live without wide receiver Jordy Nelson, cutting him after nine seasons and nearly 8,000 yards. The receiving corps got an immediate makeover to give superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers more targets by adding Jimmy Graham, who may be able to replace some of Nelson’s production.
But filling Nelson’s shoes as a teammate could be a little trickier. The bonds that form over nearly a decade together are strong ones, and they go beyond the field or locker room.
That much was apparent from Rodgers’ Instagram post in the wake of Nelson being let go, which referenced the wideout’s contributions to the larger Packers community.
Some of those hashtags are fun too. Most notably, the #stillcanplayball jumps out, because Nelson is coming off a pretty pedestrian campaign by his standards. While he was healthy enough to start 15 games, Nelson managed just 52 catches for 482 yards and six touchdowns. His 9.1 yards per catch were the lowest of his career, well below his career mark of 14.3 yards per grab.
Still, there figures to be plenty of interest among teams who believe they can still get some production out of the receiver even though he will turn 33 prior to the 2018 NFL season. There are already noises that the New England Patriots might want to sign Nelson, and everyone knows how the Pats do with players other teams’ castoffs.
In any case, NFL players don’t need professional references when looking for new work like the rest of us, but if they did, Rodgers just gave Nelson one heck of a recommendation.