Jon Gruden said earlier this offseason he wanted to throw the game back to 1998. Jordy Nelson hasn’t been around that long, but the Oakland Raiders will try to rekindle what he had in his prime.
The Raiders are signing Nelson according to former Packers receiver and current NFL Network analyst James Jones, days after the Green Bay Packers cut ties with their longtime No. 1 receiver. Nelson will get $15 million over two years with $13 million guaranteed. New Raiders receivers coach Edgar Bennett was an assistant with the Packers during Nelson’s entire career there, so there’s some level of familiarity with Nelson, who will turn 33 at the end of May.
The Raiders swapped out Michael Crabtree for Nelson. Crabtree was released as the Nelson signing became official, according to numerous reports. Crabtree had just 618 yards last season and is on the wrong side of 30 years old. Crabtree had a $7 million salary due this season. Nelson could be an upgrade for the Raiders, though there’s risk attached.
Nelson had a wonderful run with the Packers from 2008-2017, but slowed down considerably last season, two years removed from a torn ACL. Nelson had a career-low 9.1 yards per catch, though that could easily be attributed to having Brett Hundley throwing him the ball for much of the season after Aaron Rodgers’ injury. Nelson did have 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016 at age 31, a year after his knee injury. It’s easy to attribute Nelson’s poor season to Hundley and gamble on a rebound.
Nelson to the Raiders was rumored on Wednesday and Thursday morning, then NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the New Orleans Saints made a late push. The Raiders ended up getting the deal done, however.
If Nelson plays like he did years ago, it could be a nice deal for the Raiders. We know Gruden is going retro, so it might work out.
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