(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
There has been a lot of turnover at the cornerback position for the Steelers this offseason, with Mike Hilton signing with the Bengals in free agency and Steven Nelson being released by the team as a cap casualty.
Nelson was on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday and said it was a trade or release situation and there was nothing else to it. The Steelers were up against the salary cap and saved $8.25 million in cap space by parting ways with Nelson.
"And I just want to make it very clear to those out there who might not know, or assuming that there was never a discussion with me being able to take a pay cut. I was never even given that opportunity to take a pay cut," Nelson said. "So it was either a trade or release."
Nelson also said he and his agent thought he outplayed his contract and was due for a contract extension, but the Steelers thought he was expendable during the prime of his career.
Nelson says he has about 10-15 teams that have reached out to him with serious interest.
It's clear that the Steelers prioritized Cam Sutton and Joe Haden over Nelson, and they also must have a lot of confidence in Justin Layne and James Pierre as their No 3 and No. 4 cornerbacks.
Sutton will now step into a new role and be the starting cornerback on the outside opposite of Haden. Sutton has been a jack of all trades player for the Steelers in the secondary since he was drafted in the third round out of Tennessee in 2017. Last year, he even played snaps at the safety position.
Sutton is a scrappy corner and led the team in forced fumbles last year with three. In the clip below, former Steelers outside linebacker Arthur Moats breaks down a play where Sutton makes a nice pass defense while also securing the tackle against the Bills in Week 14 last year. Moats also displays Sutton's great football IQ on the play while in coverage.