Packers sign Jordy Nelson to 4-year, $39M extension
Jordy Nelson almost was tardy for the Green Bay Packers' first training camp practice Saturday morning. Turns out he would have had a good excuse.
Minutes before the official start of the 2014 season, the seventh-year receiver signed a four-year contract extension that NFL Network reported is worth $39 million, including an $11.5 million signing bonus.
In describing the hectic moments Saturday morning, Nelson said "a lot of guys had to be out there by 8 o'clock for special teams and I wasn't a part of our special teams today. So I didn't have to be out there until 8:20, so I was like the last one in the locker room and waiting on the paperwork to come down to get it done."
It got done, and then Nelson let some teammates in on the news.
"I did," he said. "I broke the news to the wideouts and quarterbacks. Just wanted them to be the first one to know so they didn't have to find out when they came back in here."
When asked what the Riley, Kan., native told the quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers said, "He said he re-signed and he was really happy. Now he can buy all the land in Kansas."
Nelson had one year left on his previous contract, which pays him $3.5 million this season. Now, he'll be under the Packers' control for the next five seasons with the contract paying him $42.5 million if he plays the deal out. That's an average salary of $8.5 million.
And it's a big raise over the three-year, $12.6 million extension he signed in 2011 that included a $3.5 million signing bonus. But Nelson's production, especially in 2011 and last season, has put him in the category of NFL No. 1 receiver.
Last season, Nelson had career highs with 85 catches for 1,314 yards, becoming just the fourth player in team history with at least 85 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in the same season. In 2011, he grabbed 15 touchdown passes to join Sterling Sharpe (18 in 1994) and Don Hutson (17 in 1942) as the only Packers to catch that many in one season.
"A lot of things get done the wrong way because people think we're greedy, we should be playing this game for $100,000 or whatever," Nelson said. "But it's your value and it's based off of -- it's (like) any other business, you're going to be paid what your value is to this team and in your business."
The Packers had $13 million left in salary cap room after letting receiver James Jones and center Evan Dietrich-Smith walk during free agency. They went a similar route with Greg Jennings following the 2012 season.
The Packers still have roughly $10 million in salary cap room this season, which could be enough to sign fourth-year receiver Randall Cobb to a long-term deal. Cobb is in the final year of his rookie contract.
"Yeah, I'd love for Randall to be next," Rodgers said. "He's a guy, again, who's done it the right way. He's been a great leader for us, he's had some injury issues last year that hurt him that was out of his control. But he's a consistent performer for us and a great guy in the locker room, as well."
Nelson said he's excited to stay in the Packers' plans as his role in the community continues to grow. This past year, he took over from Donald Driver the team's annual softball game at Fox Cities Stadium.
"Jordy Nelson is an outstanding football player and a great ambassador for the Green Bay Packers," coach Mike McCarthy said. "Obviously an excellent family man. It's something that everybody's excited about and glad to see Jordy will be here for some time."
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Nelson has stayed relatively healthy during his career. In 2009, he missed three games with a knee injury, and in 2012, he missed four full games and most of two others with a hamstring injury.
The 29-year-old Nelson will be 34 when the contract extension expires.
"If I can hit 11 years, I'll be happy, then we'll see where that goes," he said. "Obviously, you can't ever predict when you'll be done, but if you would ask me when I first got in here if I would have made it 11 years – which I'm not even close; I've only been through six – we'll see. There will be a lot to weigh at that point in time if it happens."
Rodgers' contract runs through 2019, and Nelson's goes through 2018.
"I told him that that's five for him and I've got six left," Rodgers said, "so we're going to have to do one more after that and stick around a little bit longer."
Said Nelson: "Maybe we can ride off together."