Every year around this time of March, we learn once again that the NFL is a business.
Coming off a disappointing season in which he caught just 53 balls for 482 yards and six touchdowns, Nelson figured a discussion about his cap hit and salary would be coming.
What he didn't figure was just how "unwilling" the Packers would be to work with him on his contract details and future role with the team, even though he had been such a productive Packer wideout for so long.
"I think the hurt part was, to be honest, was the unwillingness to try to make it work," Nelson said to the Wilde & Tausch Show on Monday, via ESPN. "But then again, it's a business, and they have to do what they think is best. What they need to do is to be able to move forward and prepare for the future of the Packers. But I think that was just part of it, but that's the way it is. I'm definitely not the only one that's been cut or released when you don't think it's going to happen, and it's not what you want to hear when you go into a meeting with them. But we've moved on."
Nelson was slated to enter the final year of a four-year, $39 million deal with the Packers this season that came with a cap hit of more than $12 million. He anticipated being asked to take a pay cut, and even considered it, up until he spoke with new Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst.
"I think the [pay cut] number was part of it, but also the conversation I had in the meeting," Nelson said. "I met with Brian and had a discussion because I had to get a feel for not just the pay cut but what their plans were going forward. After that meeting, there wasn't, I don't think, much desire there. I think with the combination of both, we decided what was best for myself and my family [just] as they decided what was best for them and the Packers."
But as we learn every year in the league's free agency period, that's just the nature of the business in the NFL.