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.
Eagles have signed cornerback Steven Nelson to a one-year deal worth more than $4 million, per source. A top free agent cornerback is off the market.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 25, 2021
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.
The #Eagles are giving CB Steven Nelson a 1-year deal worth $2.5M base and up to $4.125M including incentives. The experienced veteran fills a key hole before camp.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 26, 2021
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:
|Season||Nelson's PFF Coverage Grade Rank Among CB||Total sacks ranking of Nelson's team|
For the "Jets had to sign Steven Nelson" crowd: Be careful, even with PFF grades; inside always greatly impacts outside.
SN PFF COV CB RANK – TEAM SACK RANK
2020: 39 – 1 (PIT)
2019: 8 – 1 (PIT)
2018: 27 – T1 (KC)
2017: 87 – 25 (KC)
2016: 94 – 28 (KC)
Min. 20% cov snaps played.
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) July 26, 2021
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.
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.