GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers is losing his most prolific receiver but might be getting an upgrade at tight end.
The Green Bay Packers released veteran Jordy Nelson, the third-leading receiver in franchise history and one of Rodgers’ top targets in the passing game.
The Packers announced the move Tuesday, a day before teams can begin to sign free agents.
Nelson had 550 receptions and 69 touchdown catches in 10 seasons in Green Bay. But his production declined last season with Rodgers sidelined much of the year by a collarbone injury.
“We cannot thank Jordy enough for all that he has given the Green Bay Packers and our community for the past 10 years,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “He has been an exemplary professional and teammate and greatly contributed to our success.
“Jordy will always be a member of the Packers family and we look forward to his eventual induction into the Packers Hall of Fame,” added Gutekunst, who replaced Ted Thompson as GM in January.
Nelson, who turns 33 in May, had 53 catches for 482 yards and six scores in 2017, a year after winning Comeback Player of the Year honors. He had 97 catches on 1,257 yards and a league-best 14 touchdowns in 2016, rebounding from a knee injury that sidelined him the previous season.
Rodgers and Nelson had a chemistry built over their time as two of the longest-tenured Packers.
Nelson’s release figures to foreshadow more moves for the Packers, who could use an upgrade at tight end. Jimmy Graham is one of the top free agents available on the market.
The Packers have Lance Kendricks at tight end, but Richard Rodgers is due to become a free agent.
Davante Adams, who has emerged as the No. 1 receiver, signed a contract extension last year. Randall Cobb remains on the roster, while Ty Montgomery might be used in more of a hybrid role after playing running back exclusively in an injury-plagued 2017 season.
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