VIDEO: Packers release Jordy Nelson

WATCH: Packers GM Brian Gutekunst on Jordy Nelson departure & more | Read story below or by clicking here

"A player of Jordy's caliber, the person himself...this is tough, and this is big for me."

Those words described the emotions of the man who pulled the trigger on the release of Jordy Nelson from the Green Bay Packers, Brian Gutekunst. It means that one of the longtime targets of quarterback Aaron Rodgers is being let go.

MORE: Packers "intend" to sign TE Jimmy Graham

"He'll be missed," said Gutekunst at a Tuesday night news conference (which you can see above).

The move involves the departure of one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets over the years, but one that had been in major decline in 2017 compared to the year before.

"It's only nature...that you see some physical decline, but Jordy is still a very good player. He'll contribute to someone next year," said the GM.

"You don't want to let him walk out the door, but there is a big puzzle. There are limitations. You can't keep everybody...this is in the best interest of our team moving forward."

A 10-year veteran, Nelson has 550 catches for 7,848 yards and 69 touchdowns on his Packers resume, including a league-leading 14 in 2016.

He missed the 2015 season with an injury, and his productivity dropped by 44 receptions, nearly 800 yards and eight touchdowns last year.

The pickup of tight end Jimmy Graham, reported Tuesday, is a dramatic improvement at a position of great need for the Packers, and is perceived as a much larger improvement than the dropoff at wide receiver between Nelson and Randall Cobb at No. 2, and between Cobb and Geronimo Allison at No. 3 - a part-time position on the offense.

It will probably also come with more cap room for the Packers, as Nelson would have been paid about $12 million in salary with $10.25 million for the salary cap. Additionally, the tight end market has mainly been about $8 million for the top.signings.

GALLERY: Jordy Nelson through the years

Nelson, a 2014 Pro Bowler, was the 2016 NFL Comeback Player of the year after a broken leg which ended his 2015 campaign before it began, an injury in the 2015 preseason against Pittsburgh.

He was also first-team All-Pro in 2013 (Pro Football Focus) and 2014 (Sporting News).

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