Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson explains why Raiders were right fit after decade in Green Bay


Jordy Nelson explains why Raiders were right fit after decade in Green Bay

Derek Carr picked up Jordy Nelson from Oakland airport for a Wednesday visit with the Raiders.

The Silver and Black's quarterback wasn’t just a chauffer. He was a tour guide.

“We spent pretty much the whole day together, in the building here,” Nelson said Thursday. “He was the one who drove me around some of the area. I was actually about to meet his wife and two boys. I got a feel for the area and obviously a feel for him. I knew a lot about him from James Jones who played here and Davante Adams who he played with at Fresno State. I knew a lot about him before I even came out here. It was great to get to know him a little bit more. I think it’s a great fit to be with him for the next couple of years.”

A $15 million contract, with $13 million guaranteed, signed Thursday evening paired quarterback with new receiver the next two years. It also sent Michael Crabtree packing, with a sure-handed locker-room leader taking his place.

Nelson wanted to examine the area before signing up. That's why Carr took Nelson on a tour the East Bay. He was at a Wednesday evening dinner with head coach Jon Gruden and Nelson. The recruiting pitch, and a pretty decent sum, convinced Nelson to join the Silver and Black after a decade in Green Bay.

The Packers wanted him to take a massive pay cut, with no certainty beyond the 2018 season. That request eventually led to Nelson getting cut on Tuesday, ending a long-held hope of playing his entire career in Green Bay.

“That was a little shock to the system and not what you want to hear after you’ve been somewhere for 10 years, but we know it’s part of the business,” Nelson said. “Once that happened and the news broke, people started reaching out.”

Raiders receivers coach Edgar Bennett was among the first. He was Nelson’s position coach from 2011-14 and his offensive coordinator, though head coach Mike McCarthy called plays, from 2015-17. That relationship remains strong, and he knows general manager Reggie McKenzie from Green Bay.

Carr was an obvious attraction, strengthened by a thumb’s up from Adams and Jones. Nelson believes Carr and Gruden’s “creative mind” will help him thrive.

Nelson has some doubters, especially after a down year featuring just 53 catches for 482 yards and 6 touchdowns. They’ll say the statistical slide shows he’s lost a step -- those numbers were largely compiled without Aaron Rodgers -- that he won’t return to vintage form. He did in 2016 after an ACL tear the year before, recording 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns to earn NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

What will he do with a new team, at 33 years old? Can he replace Crabtree’s steady production? Nelson believes he can.

“I can still run. I can still catch,” he said. “I think football at this level a lot of people focus on speed, but I mean I ran a 4.5 coming out of college. I wasn’t blazing then either. It’s different when you get helmet and shoulder pads on. I think I can do that. I can make plays. Any play is a big play or just catch in the slant. I look forward to just getting out, getting in rhythm with Derek and start forming that chemistry with him that I’ve had with Aaron for the last 10 years. Continue to build off that. Just see what happens. I’m going to go out there and play my role in this offense, and make the plays that are available.”

He’ll be doing it in a different uniform, in a different environment. Nelson admits each phase of this next chapter will be weird, from putting on a different practice helmet to playing in a different stadium. He will be comfortable, however, leading an otherwise young receiver corps into a pivotal season. Football is the same everywhere, and he’ll obviously fit in playing the game.

The densely packed Bay Area could turn someone who grew up on a Kansas farm and played in northeast Wisconsin into a fish out of water, but Carr showed him East Bay areas where city and country combine. That, and some advice on traffic patterns, should ease the transition. Nothing, however, can ease the sticker shock of this housing market.

“That’s what I told my wife. I said, ‘When we sell our house in Green Bay, I don’t think it’s going to make it very far out here in Wisconsin,’” Nelson said. “That honestly will be an adjustment. You know that coming into it and you know what you’re getting out of it. The weather is going to be great, and all that other stuff. It’s one of those things that will be an adjustment as well, but it’ll be a great experience. I guess I won’t buy as many movies or something to make up for the lost money in between.”

That last part was said in jest. Nelson’s confident in his decision, and believes this move will be a productive chapter of his life and career.

“It’s also going to be exciting,” Nelson said. “My wife and I were excited when we got drafted to Green Bay because we were starting our life together. We both grew up together in a small town, so we hadn’t really been anywhere else besides Kansas. To be able to get away and form our family now this is another opportunity for us to be in a different part of the country, and experience something that’s completely different than rural Kansas or even rural Wisconsin. We look forward to that.

"Also, I mean, the Oakland Raiders is a great organization, historic organization. It’s exciting to come and be a part of that, an opportunity to so some great things and leave your mark on this organization like I was in (Green Bay).”

Raiders sign WR Jordy Nelson to two-year deal

Raiders sign WR Jordy Nelson to two-year deal

UPDATE (4:23pm PT on Thursday): The Raiders announced the signing of former Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson.


Raiders quarterback Derek Carr picked up Jordy Nelson at Oakland airport on Wednesday afternoon. That’s when the recruiting pitch started and it carried on for hours, through dinner at an East Bay locale.

Nelson didn’t head back to the airport. He stayed in town, and his camp started hammering out details of a new deal. It was done Thursday morning.

Nelson agreed on terms of a two-year contract to join the Raiders. NFL Network analyst James Jones, a former Raiders and Packers receiver and Nelson’s good friend, first reported the news.

A league source confirmed that information to NBC Sports Bay Area.

Jones reports that Nelson agreed on a $15 million deal, with $13 million guaranteed.

This deal mark Nelson’s first professional change of scenery. He spent the last decade in Green Bay. He was released for salary-cap reasons, and was in Oakland the next day.

Nelson scheduled free-agent visits in Seattle and New Orleans, but cancelled them after agreeing to a deal in Oakland.

The Saints and Seahawks tried to pry Nelson from Oakland’s grasp, which may have helped bridge a financial gap between the team and the receiver’s camp. All that, however, has been resolved.

Nelson’s now in the mix. He’ll provide locker-room leadership and accountability, in addition to steady hands, solid route running and excellent improvisational skills.

His addition also sends Michael Crabtree’s out the door. The veteran receiver was set to earn $7.7 million in salary and bonuses, though none of it is guaranteed.

The Raiders were able to cut him freely and use funds not re-allocated to Nelson for other positions. Having Nelson, Crabtree and Amari Cooper on the field at the same time seems like a good idea, but spending smart is the theme of this Raiders offseason.

They have several other needs in free agency, especially in the defensive backfield and defensive line. They’re still working to re-sign middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman, but must find a replacement if he leaves the Bay Area.

Jettisoning Crabtree is unpopular among the fan base – he made huge plays over the last three seasons – but he fell out of favor with Jack Del Rio’s staff and wasn’t beloved by everyone in the locker room after losing became common last year.

The receiver market exploded this week, and Crabtree could find significant funds on the open market.

Nelson’s coming off a down year and will be 33 in May, but the Raiders clearly believe he can be back on track. He had 53 receptions for 482 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, though quarterback Aaron Rodgers was injured most of that season.

That ended a three-season run with at least 1,250 receiving yards, though a torn ACL stole his 2015 season. He hasn’t looked as quick since the injury and gaining separation could be a question mark, but veteran savvy could help him produce steadily.

Nelson’s sure hands can’t be underscored, especially on a team with drop issues. He had two drops in 84 targets last year, and six drops on 158 targets in 2016. He has caught 68.4 percent of his targets during an illustrious career he hopes can thrive working with Carr and new head coach Jon Gruden.

He’s familiar with receivers coach Edgar Bennett and general manager Reggie McKenzie from his Green Bay days. Having Carr’s arm and Gruden’s offense – where veteran receivers have thrived – was surely an attraction.

Nelson and Cooper will be primary targets, with Seth Roberts looking to rebound from a down year.

Report: Former Packers WR to visit Raiders in free agency


Report: Former Packers WR to visit Raiders in free agency

Jordy Nelson has played his entire career in one spot. The beloved Green Bay receiver will have to carry on with another, after the Packers released him Tuesday to clear salary cap space.

The Raiders will have a chance to get him first. He’ll visit the team’s Alameda complex on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, and meet up with some old friends.

Raiders receivers coach Edgar Bennett is certainly an attraction. He was Nelson’s receivers coach in Green By from 2011-14 and his offensive coordinator – head coach Mike McCarthy called the plays – from 2015-17.

He was a second-team All-Pro in 2014, working with Bennett. He was also named the NFL’s comeback player of the year in 2016 with 1,257 yards and an NFL best 14 touchdowns, a year after a torn ACL took him out a full season.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was in the Packers personnel department, though he was focused on pro scouting, when Nelson became Green Bay’s second-round pick in 2008.

There are several teams preliminarily interested in Nelson, though the Raiders certainly hope to have him signed before leaving Alameda.

It’s uncertain, at this stage, what Nelson’s looking for financially. He made a $5.5 million base salary last year.

Nelson is 33 years old, coming off his worst season in some time. He had 53 catches for 482 yards, six touchdowns on 84 targets, and a career-worst 9.1 yards per reception. He had just 0.95 yards per route run, according to Pro Football Focus. That downtick could be attributed, at least in part, to quarterback Aaron Rodgers missing significant time with a broken collar bone. 

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is an attraction in his own right, with strong football knowledge and a powerful arm. 

The Raiders could use some help everywhere but especially in the slot, where Nelson played 29 percent of the time last year. He was the NFL’s most efficient slot receiver in 2016, and could find a role there in the Raiders offense that might offset any loss in raw speed.

The Raiders hope to sign Nelson as soon as possible. They could add him to a receiver corps that includes Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree -- that's the ideal scenario -- or, maybe more likely, they could exchange Crabtree for Nelson.

Crabtree is set to make a $7.5 million base salary that is not guaranteed, and could be easily cut despite McKenzie saying he’s in their plans for 2018. The Raiders wanted him to take a pay cut, though he might find a solid market considering how much receivers are getting paid in free agency.

Nelson is known as an excellent leader and locker-room presence, as Aaron Rodgers suggests in a farewell to Nelson on social media.