GREEN BAY - The tone of Jordy Nelson’s voice was familiar. Former Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones probably sounded the same way when the team chose to let him walk in free agency.
Jones talked to Nelson shortly after the Packers released the 32-year-old receiver Tuesday and he was the one who broke the news on Twitter that Nelson had signed a two-year, $15 million deal with the Oakland Raiders on Thursday afternoon.
He said Nelson will feel the hurt for a while.
“You always feel you’ve got more in you, especially one more year,” Jones said in a phone interview. “You think to where you were and what you’ve done. He was having a great season and then “12” (Aaron Rodgers) got hurt.”
Nelson was released because the Packers had a chance to clear $10.25 million of salary-cap room and use it on a pair of free agents they wanted to sign, as well as extend Rodgers’ contract.
The Packers did offer a pay cut, but Jones said the deal was so bad, there was no way Nelson would take it, not with the interest there seemed to be in him from other teams. Even so, Jones said Nelson contemplated returning to the Packers.
“I’m not going to say what they offered him, but they really, really low-balled him,” Jones said. “It wasn’t even anything you would consider. Even with all that, he was still considering taking it.”
Jones said Nelson was buoyed by the fact that the Raiders and Seahawks, among other teams, were interested in signing him. It made him feel he made the right decision not to accept a low-ball offer from the Packers.
It was clear Green Bay wanted to move on. Nelson felt he still had something to offer the only team he ever played for.
“It just hurts,” Jones said. “You feel like you can play and someone tells you that’s not the case. Then you get released and you get action, it makes you feel good. You’re on it. You feel like you can play.’
Jones said Nelson would have worked with the Packers on an incentive-laden deal to stay, but the team wasn’t interested. Jones said it would not have helped if the Packers would have just told Nelson they were going to cut him rather than offer a low-ball contract.
He said Nelson deserved a better offer from the Packers given everything he had sacrificed and done for the team. He said there was no way that Nelson was not going to be productive in some way next year.
“He’s given the organization everything he has, at least give him one more season,” Jones said. “It’s not going to hurt the team. He’s going to help you. He could have given you one more year.
“But at the end of the day, it’s a business. You should never be surprised. I’ve seen Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson and so many other people get released.”
Even with the hurt Nelson is feeling now, Jones said he will embrace the franchise again, just like Jones did when he returned in 2015.
“He’s going to retire as a Packer,” Jones said. “You’d like to stay with one team your entire career. It’s hard. It’s too bad he has to go through this. But I’m happy for him going to Oakland. He’s going to show he can play at a high level.”
Jones said he could see Nelson clicking with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr the way he did with Rodgers. The Raiders’ No. 1 receiver is Amari Cooper, but they released Michael Crabtree and Nelson has a good chance to be the No. 2.
Carr can take the Raiders places, Jones said.
“I’ve been around him a lot,” Jones said. “I call him ‘Baby A-Rod.’ I’m happy he’s going somewhere where he can have some success.”