This post is putting the cart waaaaay ahead of the horse, but I think the topic merits discussion.
Jordy Nelson had an amazing season in 2011. I mean, really amazing.
So far, he’s showing no signs of slowing down in training camp. Most observers say he’s only getting better.
Before Nelson truly exploded last season, he signed a 4-year, $14 million contract extension with the Packers. He might have already outplayed that contract.
Here are three random WRs making more than Nelson: Stevie Johnson ($5 years, $36.25 million); Earl Bennett (5 years, $18.55 million) and Marques Colston (5 years, $40 million).
I would take Nelson over all of those guys, and it’s not even close. Nelson was the 27th highest paid receiver in the NFL after signing his new deal, and he’s surely dropped in the rankings since.
I like to make snarky comments on Twitter about Nelson’s agent soon being unemployed after Nelson realizes the bargain-basement extension he signed. But in all seriousness, it’s ultimately Nelson who made the call when he chose to re-sign with the Packers and for how much.
When Nelson re-signed, he wasn’t quite where he’s at now. I’m sure he took a look at the contract, thought that $14 million was plenty of cash, and decided to sign so he could move on with his life and keep working at becoming a better player.
Well, he’s become a better player. And he might be getting even better.
If that’s the case, the Packers better hope that Nelson doesn’t try and do something about being underpaid, even though he was the one who signed his name on the dotted line a couple of month before his value skyrocketed.
Ted Thompson has to come up with extensions for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews in the near future. The last thing he wants to deal with is Nelson demanding a reworked deal.
I’m not saying that Nelson will be threatening a holdout any time soon. I’m also not trying to garner sympathy for a guy set to make $14 million. But this is probably an issue that Thompson at least has in the back of his mind.
And remember, even if Nelson is happy with his salary, his agent, the players union, and his peers in the NFL might not be. All of those outside forces want players to make as much money as possible and set the market for players hitting the free-agent market or looking for extensions down the road.
Agents don’t want to enter negotiations for their WR clients and report back that offers are low because teams keep using Nelson’s contract as a baseline.
Judging by the ridiculous contracts handed to WRs this offseason, that last sentence probably doesn’t make much sense. But again, I’m just bringing these issues up for discussion.
Nelson is already underpaid. If he continues down the path he’s currently on, he will be grossly underpaid.
Maybe Nelson, a kid from Manhattan, Kansas, population 53,678, is fine with that. Maybe he thinks anyone making $14 million to play a game and catch passes from Aaron Rodgers should never be allowed to ever use the word “underpaid.”
Or maybe not.
It’s one of those things general managers and astute fans need to at least keep in the back of their minds, even if it means putting the cart way ahead of the horse.