(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Well, that didn't take long. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Friday that cornerback Steven Nelson was granted permission by the Steelers to seek a trade. The Steelers couldn't find a trade partner and the team announced today that they've released Nelson.
By parting ways with Nelson, the Steelers save $8.25 million in cap space, but they'll take on a dead money charge of $6.17 million, according to Spotrac. However, saving $8.25 million is much-needed for the cash-strapped Steelers, as they now have $8.6 million in cap room.
With Nelson now gone, the Steelers have lost five defensive starters this offseason in Bud Dupree, Tyson Alualu, Mike Hilton, Vince Williams and Nelson via free agency or release.
The Steelers' decision to move on from Nelson was reportedly strictly cap-related, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Nelson has been sending a lot of cryptic messages on Twitter lately and he made another one today, which appeared to be a message to the Steelers to not hold him hostage.
"Making a public announcement is a little out of my character, but you guys made your decision please don’t hold me hostage," Nelson tweeted.
Well, he's not being held hostage anymore and is free to sign with any team in the league. In 2018 during Le'Veon Bell's holdout that ended up lasting the whole year, Mike Tomlin famously said, "We want volunteers, not hostages."
The Steelers cornerback depth now consists of Joe Haden, the newly re-signed Cam Sutton, Justin Layne, who was a third-round pick in 2019, and James Pierre, who went undrafted last year out of Florida Atlantic. With Haden turning 32 next month, the Steelers could be in play to select a cornerback in the first two rounds of this year's draft.
With Nelson in the last year of his contract and having a base salary of $8.25 million, there weren't going to be a lot of great offers. It's still a little surprising that the Eagles, who are in need of a cornerback, didn't trade a fifth-round pick for Nelson. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see where Nelson lands next.
Nelson signed with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2019 from the Chiefs and signed a three-year, $25.5 million contract. In his two seasons with the Steelers, he had 109 tackles, 17 passes defended, three interceptions, two tackles for a loss and two fumble recoveries.
Nelson posted a message on Twitter about his departure from Pittsburgh and thanked the organization from the top down for the opportunity to play for the Steelers.