Jordy Nelson was released by the Green Bay Packers when they signed Jimmy Graham. Nelson was a productive player most of his career. But after recent injuries, is he a good fit for the reloading Seahawks?
Jordy Nelson will be 33 years old when the 2018 NFL season starts. That is pretty old for a receiver. And after missing all of 2015 and having an injury riddled 2017, he was released by the Packers this week. He was released when Jimmy Graham was signed in Green Bay. Nelson to Seattle would basically be a trade. But is Nelson worth Seattle signing?
There are good things about the Seahawks possibly signing Jordy Nelson. He would be cheaper than it would have been to hold on to Graham. And the receiver has mostly been very productive during his time with the Packers. He has 63 touchdowns receiving in the last seven seasons.
And this is a great Nelson beating a then-great Darrelle Revis for a straight out beat down. He had that special ability. But does he still? That is the question.
Nelson is an outside receiver. The Seahawks have a great slot guy in Doug Baldwin. Tyler Lockett is a speed threat. But now with Paul Richardson gone, Seattle needs someone to replace him. Nelson could be that player.
Nelson vs. Graham
But even Nelson without his younger speed can get open. And Graham, who was really a big receiver, was certainly not any faster than Nelson is now. Graham also dealt with dropped passes in 2017, ranking second in the NFL in number of drops with seven. The tight end was targets 98 times by Russell Wilson. Nelson was targeted 88 times and dropped one pass.
Another factor is Seattle wants to get back to running the ball. Jimmy Graham was a detriment to Seattle’s running game. He was a bad blocker. Signing Nelson means another tight end – Nick Vannett? – would play inside and almost certainly would be a better blocker.
And the reason I am comparing Nelson to Graham and not Paul Richardson is simply the number of passing targets Nelson would have (much closer to Graham than Richardson) and that a defense would game-plan for Nelson the way they do Graham. Richardson might become a great player, but Graham and Nelson have already shown themselves to be.
A final concern about Nelson, however, is how good is he really? Could he be a star in any system or was he simply much better because of Aaron Rodgers being his quarterback. In 2017, Nelson had six touchdown receptions in the first five games. All with Rodgers. After Rodgers was lost for most of the rest of the season in game six, Nelson had zero touchdown receptions.
Still, if the price makes sense, Seattle should jump at signing Nelson to a two-year deal. Most likely, though, the Seahawks will lose out to a higher bidder.