Football / Sports

Packers sign Jordy Nelson to four-year deal worth almost $40 million

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- The Green Bay Packers made another move to assure them that one of their best players would be around for at least another four years.

The Packers announced the signing of receiver Jordy Nelson immediately after their first training camp practice Saturday morning.

"Jordy's a great player and a great ambassador for the organization," coach Mike McCarthy said after practice. "Everyone is excited about it. I was just made aware of it on the field. He's so consistent. He's the ultimate pro"

According to NFL Network, Nelson agreed to a four-year, $39 million contract that includes $14.2 million of guaranteed money. The signing bonus is a little more than $11 million, the league's network reported.

Based on the way Nelson performed in practice on the first day of training camp they probably should have paid him $20 million a year. Nelson made tough catch after tough catch, including a 40-yard touchdown reception from Aaron Rodgers during a no-huddle drill.

The $10 million average is about the going rate for a No. 1 receiver of Nelson's caliber.

"You want to be respected in this league," Nelson said in the locker room after practice. "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. But it's your value and it's based off of business.

"You're going to be paid what your value is to this team and in your business. It's no different than any other job. If you see you're being very productive, and someone else at a different job doing the same thing, but a different business doing the same thing, you're going to want to be respected and that's the only way you can be."

On Friday, a league executive predicted the Packers would sign him to a deal worth $9-10 million a year based on the market for receivers. He said Nelson deserved to be paid more than Minnesota receiver Greg Jennings, Nelson's former teammate who averages $9 million a year over the sustainable years of his deal.

Paying Nelson an average of $9.75 million puts him below the market for superstar receivers like Detroit's Calvin Johnson ($16.2 million) and Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald ($16 million) and puts him in the same category as Chicago's Brandon Marshall ($10 million) and Jennings.

His deal is more lucrative than the $8 million a year deal Atlanta's Roddy White, who at 33 is four years older than Nelson, recently received.

Nelson was in the final year of a three-year, $12.6 million deal that was set to pay him $2.55 million in base salary, $200,000 in a roster bonus and $250,000 in a workout bonus.

Since the four year-extension is tacked onto the remaining year, it means he would be under contract until 2018, one year before Rodgers' contract expires.

Nelson led the Packers in receiving last year with 85 catches for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns. He made clutch catch after clutch catch to keep the Packers' playoff hopes alive during the time Rodgers was injured, including two miraculous ones in the comeback victory over Dallas.

In the last two years, the Packers have signed Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and Nelson to mega-deals, making sure none of them would escape in free agency. They've also secured players such as cornerback Sam Shields, safety Morgan Burnett, nose tackle B.J. Raji, linebacker Brad Jones and tight end Andrew Quarless.

Next up on the list is receiver Randall Cobb, but that's likely a deal the Packers are to do later in the season when they're sure Cobb is over his injury from last year and is equally as productive as in 2012. He is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in March.

"I think they do a great job of keeping their core guys here, guys that want to be here," Nelson said. "I know Randall -- don't know his situation at all, not going to get involved in that. But everyone wants to be here obviously.

"The core guys that we have across the board offensively, defensively. We know we'll always be in the running to get in the playoffs and make runs at the Super Bowl, and that's what you want as a player. So you want to stay here as much as possible, but you also want to be, like I said, respected in the game."

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