Jordy Nelson has developed into one of the most important wide receivers in the NFL over the past three seasons. Now he's looking to get rewarded for that success with a lucrative contract extension from the Green Bay Packers.
Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports Nelson, who's entering the final season of his current contract, is seeking a major jump in his base salary in his next deal. He also notes the recent extension handed out by the Atlanta Falcons to Roddy White, which included a reported $18 million in guaranteed money:
Nelson is seeking all of that—and more. A source familiar with the negotiations said Nelson wants a deal worth at least $10 million per season. That would be a major increase from his current contract, which averages $4.2 million per season and ranks 34th among all NFL receivers. White was due to make $5 million this season.
Is Nelson worth $10 million per season?
ESPN's KC Joyner weighs in on whether or not Nelson's desire for such a massive deal has merit:
Jordy's got a case. Franchise tag for WRs is around $12 million. Problem is Nelson did squat without Rodgers in the lineup last year.— KC Joyner (@KCJoynerTFS) July 24, 2014
The Kansas State product was a role player on a very deep Packers offense during his first three seasons in the league. He has since moved up the depth chart and his numbers have improved considerably, highlighted by 30 touchdown grabs over the past three years.
He enters this season as the top target for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, which should equate to another big statistical campaign. The top-tier quarterback averaged over 4,200 yards per season over the previous five years before his 2013 season was cut short by injury.
A lot of that success can be attributed to Nelson's versatility. He isn't afraid to work over the middle despite enduring some punishment and, as illustrated by Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders, he's one of the best at working the sidelines:
Rodgers gets a lot of the credit for the Packers' offensive success, but having Nelson in the mix is essential to keeping the team's passing game among the best in football.
Some players prefer to only negotiate during the offseason to avoid potential distractions. Nelson seemingly doesn't follow that theory. Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked him about it last month:
"Obviously, you want to get it done as soon as possible," he said. "But there are a lot of other people that are involved in that. It’s a process and we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes."
Green Bay's other starting wide receiver, Randall Cobb, is also in position for a contract extension. The ideal scenario for the Packers would be to secure Nelson as soon as possible so they could determine how much cap space they have left for other deals.
The biggest question now is whether they believe their top target is worth $10 million or more per season with a large chunk of guaranteed money.
There's no doubting his value to the offense, but that's a major commitment to a single skill player with teammates like Cobb to sign as well.