The changes keep coming for the Oakland Raiders and the most recent move sent a respected veteran wideout packing after multiple new additions at his position. Jordy Nelson joined the Raiders last offseason on a two-year deal, but the acquisitions of Antonio Brown via trade and Tyrell Williams in free agency made him expendable.
The team reported the news of Nelson’s release, setting him up to test the free agency waters once again. This decision did come with scrutiny, as Raiders coach Jon Gruden stated previously that Nelson would return for the 2019 season. Beyond that, Gregg Rosenthal pointed out that the team gave him a $3.6 million bonus early for cap purposes.
There may be an outside chance that Nelson returns to the Raiders, but he could have additional options as well. We’re going to check out a few teams that make sense as fits for the 33-year-old.
Green Bay Packers
It’s hard to envision Aaron Rodgers not lobbying for the Packers to bring his close friend back home. Obviously, this may come down to how the situation looks in Nelson’s eyes and his feelings on the team parting ways with him in the first place. With that said, Green Bay could certainly use Nelson back.
He spent nine years with the Packers, totaling 550 receptions for 7,848 yards and 69 touchdowns in 136 games while clearly becoming a fan favorite in the process. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two sides have mutual feelings on linking back up for one more run.
Randall Cobb is currently a free agent and the wide receiver position in free agency has thinned out quite a bit. If the Packers want to bolster their receiving corps for a season or two, adding Nelson on a cost-effective deal and looking to the draft as well makes sense.
New England Patriots
I’m not as sold on this as I would have been one day ago, but it could still make for an interesting fit. Due to the fact that Josh Gordon’s return from suspension is a complete unknown, Nelson could be a plug-and-play option for Tom Brady.
The Patriots have agreed to terms with both Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris, while re-signing Phillip Dorsett, per Spotrac, but you could easily argue Nelson is a superior option. Along with that, Chris Hogan is currently a free agent and may wind up leaving town, opening up an additional spot to be filled.
If Brady had Julian Edelman along with Nelson and could sort through the recent signings as the No. 3 receiver until Gordon’s return, that’s a pretty solid outlook for the Patriots.