It's never easy for teams to throw their most respected players into the wind. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots seem to have little issue doing it, but every other NFL team struggles to decide when to cut their losses with a legendary player who is past his prime. The Green Bay Packers may be nearing that conundrum with wide receiver Jordy Nelson. He has been the best receiver of the Aaron Rodgers era but has also been beset by injuries in recent years. What should the team do with him after the season?

The case for keeping him

Nelson has an unquestionable chemistry with Rodgers.

When the two of them are healthy, and on the field at the same time, sparks fly. Just look at the receiver's career numbers. He has 550 career receptions for 7,848 yards and 69 touchdowns. He has only been to one Pro Bowl but led the NFL in touchdown receptions just a year ago. If he retired today, Nelson would undoubtedly merit a spot among the greats in Packers history.

What Nelson brings to the locker room is less quantifiable, but just as important. The Packers were devastated when he suffered an ACL injury in 2015 and missed the entire season. They were equally impressed when he came back to have a big season in 2016, earning himself NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Having somebody like Nelson in the locker room will always be a benefit for a team looking for senior leadership.

Whether that comes in a coaching or playing capacity is up for further debate.

The case for cutting him

There's one year left on his contract, but cutting Nelson after the season would only incur $2.3 million in dead cap space. That's not too bad, all things considered. It would give the Packers some rare room to chase after a wide receiver or impact player in free agency, an avenue the team doesn't tend to acknowledge during the offseason.

More importantly, his play has fallen off this season. Injuries and age play a major factor in the drop-off, but there's no reversing that narrative. Should he miss the last week of the season, his 53 receptions will be his least in five years. His 482 yards is his worst mark since his second season. Nelson's numbers are only going to get worse from this point forward.

The best organizations know when it's time to say goodbye. It doesn't make it any easier to do so. The time is nigh for the Packers to make a tough decision about Jordy Nelson. No matter the final outcome, there are going to be some irate fans.