In recent years, Green Bay Packers fans have largely been spectators during free agency, as former general manager Ted Thompson believed in sticking with home-grown players.
But new GM Brian Gutekunst may not harbor the same belief.
In the span of a few minutes on Tuesday afternoon came news of two moves for the Packers: according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team is releasing receiver Jordy Nelson but expected to sign free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham.
A second-round pick in 2008, Nelson recorded 550 catches for 7,848 yards and 69 touchdowns in a decade with Green Bay; he missed the entire 2015 season due to a torn ACL suffered in a preseason game. His 550 receptions are third-most in franchise history, behind Donald Driver and Sterling Sharpe.
Now 32-years-old, Nelson was slated to earn $9.25 million in base salary for 2018, and with bonuses and prorated money would have counted $12.52 million against the cap.
There had been a lot of talk in recent days about a reunion between Graham and the New Orleans Saints, the team that traded him to Seattle in 2015. But Graham is headed to the Packers instead; though financial details weren’t immediately known.
Graham was named to the Pro Bowl for the fourth and fifth times in his career in 2016 and 2017. He will be a big addition for Green Bay, though the team is also subtracting a key piece with the release of Nelson.
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