Aaron Rodgers honors Jordy Nelson after 'sad day'

In the aftermath, Aaron Rodgers focused on a tribute to the red-zone target he lost rather than the one he gained.

"Hard to find the right words today to express what 87 means to me," Rodgers wrote on Instagram. "No teammate exemplified what it means to be a Packer quite like him. From living in GB full time, his incredible contributions to the city, state, and region, to his consistent, reliable play on the field. Definitely a sad day and the toughest part of this business. There will never be another quite like white lightning. #leader #brother #friend #baller #loyal #champion #legacy #intact #stillcanplayball #backshoulder #1stSBTD"

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Tuesday night he talked to Rodgers after making the decision to release Nelson.

While ESPN Milwaukee reported Nelson had a chance to take a "significantly lower" salary to stay in Green Bay, Gutekunst declined to confirm the report. The GM was asked if he saw decline in Nelson's play following his 2015 ACL tear.

"I think it's only natural as players get older, you see some physical decline," Gutekunst said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "But I think Jordy is a very good player. He'll contribute for somebody next year."

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