Jordy Nelson

Rapoport On Bryant, Cobb, Nelson, Murray

It’s cutting season, and there are several big name veterans on the chopping block. Here’s the latest from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (video links):

  • Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is a candidate for release, but Rapoport’s understanding is that Dallas plans to move forward with him, in part because of all of the resources they have already invested in him. It’s far from a lock that he’ll return under his current contract, however. Bryant, who will turn 30 during the upcoming season, is due a base salary of $12.5MM in 2018. The Cowboys could ask Bryant to accept a pay cut/extension that will make his contract a bit more palatable.
  • The Packers have two big-name WRs of their own who could be cap casualties. Rapoport gets the sense that either Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson will be shown the door. Based on recent production, it could be Cobb who is cut loose. Cobb is slated to carry a $12.72MM cap hit in the final year of his deal, but the team can save $9.47MM with just $3.25MM in dead money if they release him.
  • Rapoport speculates that the Titans could cut running back DeMarco Murray, which makes sense given the presence of Derrick Henry. Murray is slated to count for $6.75MM against the cap this year and next, but those are completely non-guaranteed seasons. In 2017, the 30-year-old finished with 659 fewer rushing yards than he amassed in 2016, a Pro Bowl campaign. His yards-per-carry average also dipped from 4.4 to 3.6.
  • Tyrod Taylor is a release candidate for the Bills, but Rapoport rightly notes that the team is more likely to trade him given the need for quarterbacks around the league.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Nelson, Trubisky

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was hired to his post mostly because of his mastery in calling an NFL defense. Zimmer was the Bengals defensive coordinator for six seasons before making the jump to the head coaching ranks in 2014. Although, he’s still been calling Minnesota’s defensive plays for the past four years. However, that is something that may change come 2018, reports Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune.

Krammer passes along that Zimmer almost gave up his playing calling duties this past year to defensive coordinator George Edwards. He ultimately decided against the move largely because of his success at calling defensive schemes for the past 18 years. Zimmer did express that Edwards is the main orchestrator of the team’s defensive game plan for the most part anyway.

“George does everything,” Zimmer said. “He helps with the game plan. He runs a lot of the meetings, the defensive meetings. Him and I really sit down and talk about all the different things that are going on. He studies the game just like he’s calling the game. So he’ll come in and talk to me about second down-and-whatever. ‘They’re doing this,’ or, ‘they’re doing that.’ Really, he does everything other than call the game on Sunday.”

Edwards used to call plays for the Bills back in 2011, but has taken a backseat in that regard in order to work as a member of Zimmer’s staff. This dynamic could be a subplot as we approach next year’s training camp because Zimmer appears to be letting go of the idea that he has to be the one making the final defensive decisions on Sundays.

“It’s a lot of work when you sit down and do it,” Zimmer said of calling plays. “I’ve done it for a long time. And because I have confidence in George, as well. I think maybe just the fact that, um, you know, I don’t know – I guess I’m just getting older.”

Here’s more stories from around the NFC North:

  • In other Vikings news, wide receiver Jarius Wright is reported to have restructured his deal at the beginning of the season, which dropped his base salary from $2.5MM to $1.05MM, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). Goessling notes that Wright has earned weekly roster bonuses of about $93k in order to get back his original salary figure. With that in mind, he’ll have earned back the rest of his money by the time Week 17 kicks off.
  • Packers longtime receiver Jordy Nelson appears to be stuck in limbo with the organization the drafted him back in 2008, opines Rob Demosvky of ESPN.com. Nelson, who’ll turn 33 over the summer has seen a major drop off in production in his 10th year in the NFL. Demovsky suggests that the veteran wideout may hinder the team’s ability to re-sign the more productive and younger Davante Adams, who’ll be a free agent this offseason. Nelson will collect about $10MM in salary and bonuses in 2018, which will make him more difficult to cut or trade in the next few months. Randall Cobb is signed long-term as well, but is five years Nelson’s junior, which makes him a better piece to have moving forward. Not being able to sign Adams would be a major blow for a Packers team that saw what life is like without Aaron Rodgers this year. This puts the Packers in a very difficult position entering a crucial offseason with the team having missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
  • Mitch Trubisky has had his moments during his rookie campaign, but has largely faced a lot of difficulty in his first season in the NFL. It’s expected that the Bears coaching staff and roster will have a lot of turnover this offseason, but the young signal caller expects to take a “big jump” in 2018, reports Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune“I’m always motivated to get better,” Trubisky said. “I expect to make a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2. The experience I got this year, I’m definitely going to carry that with me into the offseason and expect to have a lot of momentum and just a full head of steam going into next year.” While he experienced a number of challenges in 2017, Trubisky emphasized “growth and development” in his reflection of his first foray into professional football. Expect the Bears to put an emphasis on surrounding Trubisky with more talent this offseason. He’s had to work with patchwork receiving groups all year long, which certainly does not bode well for his outlook moving forward. The former first round pick comes into Week 17 completing under 60% of his passes, while throwing just as many touchdowns as interceptions at seven apiece.

 

Latest On Packers WR Jordy Nelson

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson is “50-50” to play in the Packers’ Week 3 game against the Bengals as he deals with a quad strain, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reported Monday, Green Bay doesn’t believe Nelson’s injury is serious, but the veteran pass-catcher could still be sidelined for at least one week.Jordy Nelson

Fellow wideout pass-catcher Randall Cobb is expected to be available on Sunday after suffering a minor shoulder injury last week, but the Packers may still need to find another receiving option if Nelson can’t go. In Week 2, that receiver was Geronimo Allison, who played 80% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps and posted three receptions for 24 yards in Nelson’s absence. Trevor Davis also saw an increase in playtime (22% of snaps) and managed one catch for nine yards.

The Packers currently have six receivers on their roster, so even if Nelson is out for Week 3, the club probably won’t need to add another pass-catcher (although practice squaders Michael Clark and DeAngelo Yancey could be candidates for promotion). Cobb, Davante Adams, Allison, Davis, and Jeff Janis will likely comprise Aaron Rodgers‘ weapons on Sunday if Nelson cannot play.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Rumors: Packers, Cobb, Jordy, Browns

MRI results show that wide receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder) and defensive lineman Mike Daniels (hamstring) did not suffer major injuries in the Packers‘ loss to the Falcons on Sunday night, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Both are considered day-to-day, and should be available for Green Bay’s Week 3 game against the Bengals. There’s no official word to the severity of wideout Jordy Nelson‘s quad issue, but the Packers don’t believe the injury is serious, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Browns will likely place receiver Corey Coleman on injured reserve on Tuesday, tweets Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald. Coleman, who broke his hand for the second time in as many seasons, will likely need six-to-eight weeks to recover, so he’ll likely be one of Cleveland’s two IR/designated to return players. That would allow Coleman to return to practice in six weeks and see the field in eight. The Browns will lean on Rashard Higgins, Kasen Williams, and Kenny Britt in Coleman’s absence.
  • Second-round cornerback Kevin King will continue to see his role grow after a solid performance for the Packers on Sunday, as head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters, including Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “If anything, he’s earned the right to potentially play more,” said McCarthy. “Smooth, confident athlete. I like the progression that Kevin’s made.” King, a Washington product, saw his snap percentage leap from 12% in Week 1 to 79% in Week 2, and is now Pro Football Focus‘ No. 19 ranked corner through two weeks.
  • General manager Ted Thompson has shown a recent willingness to add external free agents as he revamps the Packers‘ roster, writes Demovsky in a full piece. Veteran such as Martellus Bennett, Ahmad Brooks, and Davon House have all joined the club this offseason as part of a detour from a Green Bay strategy that typically involves mostly homegrown players. “It’s the realization that they needed to get better,” one NFL executive said of the Packers, noting that Thompson may be more open to input from his front office subordinates.

Jordy Nelson Eyeing 2-4 More Seasons

Jordy Nelson provided some clarity about how much longer he wants to play. The 10th-year Packers wideout is looking past his current contract but isn’t sure he will make it beyond the deal, which runs through 2018.

I would say anywhere between two to four more years. I think four more – so this one and three more – would be my max,” Nelson said during an appearance on The HawkCast podcast with former teammate A.J. Hawk (via Zach Kruse of Packers Wire). “That would put me at 13 years. I’d be happy with that, obviously. At some point, I have to get my family back to Kansas.”

The 32-year-old Pro Bowler signed a four-year, $39MM deal in 2014 that runs through the ’18 season. Both he and Randall Cobb are signed through 2018, while Davante Adams is entering his contract year. Nelson, though, isn’t guaranteeing he’ll venture past next season. He’s on Green Bay’s books for $11.55MM this season and $12.55MM in 2018.

I got two more years left on this deal, it would be great to play those out and kind of see where we’re at,” Nelson told Hawk. “Me personally, how I feel, how the body feels. And then, obviously, it’s up to the organization what they would want to do.”

Nelson tore his ACL during the 2015 preseason and missed the year but returned to catch 97 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns, the latter figure being the second-most he’s compiled in a season. The former second-round pick produced four 1,200-plus-yard receiving seasons in his past five healthy campaigns. During each of those, the Kansas State product played in 16 games.

Aaron Rodgers‘ presence looks to factor into Nelson’s potential free agency decision in 2019, should he enter that position. He will turn 33 in May.

For my wife and my family, we’ve signed two extensions here in Green Bay, a lot of it was this community and this organization. It was a perfect fit for us,” Nelson said. “We have more money than what we’ll ever spend. That wasn’t going to be the biggest issue. But like you said, having a quarterback like Aaron, the best in the game with what he could do with his arm, his mind, his feet, everything. That definitely matters.

“We’ve seen it with other receivers who have left here and struggled. Because there’s a significant difference between what he can do and what some other quarterbacks around this league can do.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams Will Play Sunday

The Packers could be near full strength on Sunday as they face the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, as wide receivers Jordy Nelson (ribs), Davante Adams (ankle), and Geronimo Allison (hamstring), as well as safety Morgan Burnett (thigh), are expected to be available to play, according to Tim Silverstein and Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.Jordy Nelson (vertical)

[RELATED: Trent Baalke Could Join Packers Front Office]

Green Bay will need all its weapons in order to compete with a high-powered Atlanta offense in a playoff contest where the over/under is north of 60 points. With Nelson sidelined last week against the Cowboys, the Packers were able to lean on tight end Jared Cook — and the magic of Aaron Rodgers — as they won their eighth straight game. Adams and Allison were both available for that game, however, and attempting to defeat the Falcons without three of their top four receivers would have been difficult.

The Packers did make a move to improve their wide receiver depth, promoting pass-catcher Max McCaffrey from the practice squad to the active roster earlier today. Other receivers on Green Bay’s depth chart include Randall Cobb, Jeff Janis, and Trevor Davis, all of whom could be asked to take on a larger than average role if Nelson, Adams, or Allison aren’t at full speed on Sunday.

Burnett’s presence is also important as the Packers try to slow down Atlanta’s No. 1-ranked DVOA offense. In 15 games this season, Burnett has racked up two interceptions and nine passes defensed while ranking as the league’s No. 14 safety, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jordy Nelson May Be Available Next Week

Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is inactive for today’s contest against the Cowboys after suffering broken ribs in last week’s victory over the Giants, but Green Bay has a “legitimate hope” that Nelson could play against the Falcons next week if the Packers advance to the NFC Championship Game, reports Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who adds that Nelson had no trouble travelling to Dallas for today’s game.Jordy Nelson

[RELATED: Packers Release DT Mike Pennel]

Nelson isn’t dealing with any other complications besides the rib injury itself, as Nelson himself told Stacey Dales of the NFL Network (Twitter links), and added that his primary goal is to resume breathing normally. Nelson is currently “resting and recovering,” an indication that he hasn’t yet returned to football activity. He’ll have a “chance” to play if the Packers advance to the next round of the tournament, per Dales, which is a decidedly more vague phrasing than Demovksy’s “legitimate hope” above.

If Nelson can’t go next week, the Green Bay’s wide receiver unit will consist of Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Jeff Janis, and Trevor Davis. The Packers also have Antwan Goodley and Max McCaffrey on the practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers’ Jordy Nelson Has Broken Ribs

Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on Monday that Jordy Nelson could suit up for Sunday’s playoff game against the Cowboys. While that could technically happen, it doesn’t sound all that likely right now. Nelson suffered “at least” two broken ribs this weekend against the Giants and it would take an “incredible effort” for the wide receiver to get on the field, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweetsJordy Nelson (vertical)

[RELATED: Packers Release DT Mike Pennel]

Nelson took a big hit from cornerback Leon Hall in the first half of Green Bay’s 38-13 win over New York. That night, he was sent to the hospital to be monitored. It sounds like he may have to sit out on Sunday, but the good news is that the Packers’ other receivers did a great job of holding down the fort without him. In total, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams combined for 241 yards and four touchdowns against the G-Men. By the same token, the Cowboys’ secondary is arguably stronger than the Giants’ unit without Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Packers certainly want to have Nelson on the field if at all possible.

If Nelson can’t go, the Packers’ WR unit will consist of Adams, Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Jeff Janis, and Trevor Davis. The Packers also have Antwan Goodley and Max McCaffrey on the practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Lions, Nelson, Cobb

The Packers seem likely to ask either — or potentially, both — Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb to take paycuts this offseason, writes Pete Doughtery of the Green Bay Press Gazette, who argues that the club needs to reverse its typically free agent-wary way of thinking and sign an explosive pass-catcher this March. If Green Bay is forced to choose between Nelson and Cobb, Nelson — despite his age — is the likelier option to be retained, says Doughtery, and the potential release of Cobb would clear enough cap space to allow the Packers to bring in an outside option.

The top two free agent wideouts figure to be the Bears’ Alshon Jeffery and the Browns’ Terrelle Pryor, but both are candidates to be hit with the franchise tag (as Jeffery already was this season). If either makes it to free agency, the Packers could certainly take a look, but they may have to settle for lesser options, such as Michael Floyd, Robert Woods, or Kamar Aiken.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • When the Lions declined defensive tackle Nick Fairley‘s fifth-year option for the 2015 season, the club’s brass defended the decision as a motivational tactic, hoping the sting of the move would incite Fairley into improvement. That strategy worked, Fairley tells Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com, as the current Saints defender says Detroit’s choice not to pick up the option “hit home” and forced him to self-evaluate. Fairley, who will face the Lions on Sunday, has since signed consecutive one-year deals with Los Angeles and New Orleans.
  • While Fairley will be active and playing when Detroit faces New Orleans, Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead has been downgraded to out for Sunday’s contest, the club announced today. Whitehead hasn’t been all that effective this season, as he ranks just 79th among 85 qualified linebackers, per Pro Football Focus, but he has been available — Whitehead has played on every Lions defensive snap this season. With Whitehead sidelined, Detroit will likely utilize more nickel packages, as well as three-safety looks, tweets Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com.
  • The Packers announced that offensive lineman T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter are both out for the club’s Week 13 against the Texans. Lang has been sidelined since Week 10, while Tretter was injured in and hasn’t played since Week 9. Jason Spriggs will start at left guard for Lang, while Corey Linsley will continue to fill in at center for Tretter.

Packers Worried About Jordy Nelson?

The Packers are expressing growing concern about wide receiver Jordy Nelson as he continues his slow start after recovering from a torn ACL during the 2015 preseason, a team source tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Specifically, Green Bay is worried that Nelson has not regained his “speed and explosiveness” thus far this year.Jordy Nelson

[RELATED: Packers Place Eddie Lacy On IR]

As Cole’s report suggests, Nelson hasn’t been quite the offensive force in 2016 that he’s been in seasons prior. After averaging 16.1 yards per reception from 2011-14, Nelson is averaging only 11.9 yards per catch so far this year, indicating that he hasn’t yet posted the kind of chunk plays the Packers have come to expect. Nelson, 31, does the lead the league in touchdown receptions with five, but all of those have come from inside the red zone.

Green Bay’s offensive struggles since the beginning of the 2015 campaign have been well-documented, as last year marked the first time since Aaron Rodgers‘ first season as a starter that the Packers ranked outside the top-10 in offensive DVOA. Much of that dropoff was attributed to Nelson’s absence, but even with the veteran receiver back in the fold, Green Bay sits at just 14th in offensive DVOA six weeks into the 2016 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.