Three perennial Pro Bowl cornerbacks changed teams in a very tumultuous NFL offseason. But the most surprising departure was that of a wide receiver.
So say the listeners and readers of the Talk of Fame Network. We asked them in our weekly poll which player was the most surprising departure and wide receiver Jordy Nelson won – barely – over cornerback Marcus Peters.
Nelson was the favorite receiver of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He caught 85 passes with eight touchdowns in 2013, 98 passes and 13 touchdowns in 2014. After missing the 2015 season with torn knee ligaments, Rodgers returned in 2016 to catch 97 passes with 14 touchdowns.
But when Rodgers missed nine games with a shoulder injury in 2017, Nelson’s production dropped off. He caught only 53 passes with six touchdowns. Then at 32 years of age, the Packers released Nelson this offseason.
Nelson received 37 percent of the vote to edge Peters at 34 percent. No one else received double-digit support – not pass rushers Michael Bennett (Seattle) or Robert Quinn (Rams), Pro Bowl cornerbacks Richard Serman (Seattle) or Aqib Talib (Denver) or defensive tackle Ndamkong Suh (Miami).
The three Talk of Fame Network hosts were, once again, divided in their voting. Ron Borges voted Talib, Clark Judge voted Peters and Gosselin voted Nelson.
“The Chiefs were supposed to make a change at quarterback, not cornerback,” Judge said. “I never envisioned them making changes at both positions, mostly because Peters is a 25-year-old regarded so highly he was named to two All-Pro teams in his first three seasons.”
Peters was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2015 when he led the NFL with eight interceptions, then went to the Pro Bowl in two of his first three seasons. His 19 interceptions since 2015 tops all NFL defenders. Peter was traded to the Rams, as was Talib, a five-time Pro Bowler.
“Talib can still play at a high level and seemed to have fewer head case issues than Peters or Sherman,” Borges said.
Nelson wasn’t out of work long. He was signed within days of his release by the Oakland Raiders.