NY Jets target Steven Nelson has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Steven Nelson, NY Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Getty Images

Steven Nelson’s Philadelphia Eagles contract details

Just over four months after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on March 23, 28-year-old free agent cornerback Steven Nelson has found a new home within the same state, making his way from the western side of Pennsylvania to the southeastern corner.

Nelson will join the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year deal worth over $4 million, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport shared more contract details this morning.

Joe Douglas never seemed to be interested

The seventh-year veteran cornerback was rumored as a potential target for the New York Jets throughout the past four months due to a combination of the team’s pressing cornerback issues and Nelson’s liking of tweets that suggested the Jets target him.

There never seemed to be any real traction between the two sides, although the chatter persisted between fans and media.

Many Jets fans across the internet are upset with the team’s lack of aggression in pursuing Nelson, but there could be a strong reason that Joe Douglas and the coaching staff were not giddy about having the chance to land him.

Take a look at these numbers, courtesy of Jets X-Factor’s Robby Sabo:

SeasonNelson's PFF Coverage Grade Rank Among CBTotal sacks ranking of Nelson's team
2020 (PIT)39th1st
2019 (PIT)8th1st
2018 (KC)27th1st
2017 (KC)87th25th
2016 (KC)94th28th

Nelson’s performance in coverage has directly correlated with the quality of his team’s pass rush. In each of the past three seasons, Nelson’s team led the NFL in sacks, and he performed well with a great defensive front making his job easier.

In the two seasons prior to that, Nelson’s team had a poor pass-rush, and he struggled behind it.

Typically, the quality of a team’s pass-rush has a greater impact on the quality of a team’s coverage than the other way around. Nelson is one of many cornerbacks whose performance relies upon the supporting cast around him.

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These players are not true difference-makers. They are certainly solid players who offer more than the many bad cornerbacks around the league who struggle no matter how good their team is, but they do not lift their teams up.

If the Jets do not see Nelson as a player who would make a substantial impact, it makes sense that they would feel more comfortable rolling the dice on their young prospects in hopes of unearthing a player or two with a higher ceiling than Nelson.

The team is still in rebuilding mode. Why sacrifice the chance to evaluate young players whose ceilings have not been revealed yet just to give their playing time to an older player who has already established that he is not a game-changer?

Willing to risk the present in exchange for a potentially better future, Joe Douglas is playing the long game.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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2 years ago

Eagles got a great value in Nelson. Steve’s holdout was a miserable failure, expected big money. Jets with a humongous need at CB, possibly passed because of a culture issue, CB room filled with young players. Jets dodged a bullet wit Richard Sherman. Eagles got a great deal