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Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Friday that Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson was granted permission by the team to seek a trade. Trading or releasing Nelson would free up $8.25 million in cap space for the Steelers.
News broke that JuJu Smith-Schuster was re-signed to a one-year, $8 million deal just minutes after it was announced that Nelson was on the trade block. So, instantly people thought the two decisions were connected.
A few hours later the details of the contract were released and it was reported that Smith-Schuster has a $1 million base salary and a $7 million signing bonus in 2021 along with four void years, so his cap hit this year is just $2.4 million. However, it is odd that the Nelson and Smith-Schuster news broke around the same time.
Nelson has been sending a lot of cryptic messages on Twitter lately and he made another one today, which appears 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.
So, I guess we'll have to stay tuned to whatever Nelson's public announcement will be. As I mentioned, Nelson is a good player, but it's not like he's a Pro Bowl or All-Pro cornerback in the league.
Nelson has recorded just three interceptions and 17 passes defended in his two seasons with the Steelers. In his six-year career, he has produced just seven interceptions. He's not a No. 1 cornerback, so he shouldn't be paid like one.
Nelson is under contract, so the Steelers hold all the cards here. The Steelers should wait to see if they can get a draft pick or player for him. If nothing materializes, they should then just flat-out release him.