The Raiders have signed wide receiver Jordy Nelson, as first reported by his former teammate James Jones (on Twitter). It’s a two-year, $15MM deal with $13MM guaranteed. The news has been confirmed by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Nelson was a cap casualty of the Packers, but several teams were eager to bring him into the fold. The Raiders beat out the Seahawks and Saints, who were also making a strong push for him.
The Raiders released Michael Crabtree on Thursday in order to make room for Nelson. At this stage of their careers, not everyone would prefer Nelson to Crabtree, although the Raiders’ new head coach obviously does. Nelson is coming off of his worst season, statistically speaking, since 2012. He caught 53 passes for 482 yards and six touchdowns. Crabtree, meanwhile, had his worst season as a Raider, though he had 58 grabs for 618 yards and eight TDs.
Nelson now slots in as the Raiders’ No. 2 wide receiver behind Amari Cooper, as shown on Roster Resource. Seth Roberts and Cordarrelle Patterson are also on the depth chart. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Raiders continue to explore the wide receiver market for depth, though there will also be options in the draft.
This will be a chance for Nelson to bounce back. Although he was only selected to one Pro Bowl (in 2014) during his run as Aaron Rodgers‘ favorite target, Nelson became the Packers’ second-leading receiver scorer. Only Don Hutson caught more touchdowns as a Packer than Nelson’s 69. He has four 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, with the most recent coming in 2016 despite having suffered an ACL tear in 2015.
The former second-round pick and Super Bowl hero caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 TDs during his last full season with Rodgers, and the Raiders are clearly banking he can return to close to that level with this signing.
[RELATED: Raiders Depth Chart]
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.