Per SiriusXM Radio’s Adam Caplan, the Philadelphia Eagles have continued to show interest in free agent cornerback Steven Nelson. According to Caplan, the Eagles “really like him” but are hesitant to sign the former Pittsburgh Steeler.
As is the case with almost any free agent in today’s NFL, money is a top priority. Nelson reportedly wants to sign for more than $3 million on a one-year deal, and Howie Roseman doesn’t appear to be willing to shovel over that kind of money for a one-year stint.
Given the tight cap situation the Eagles are in entering the 2021 season, not wanting to pay Nelson more than $3 million to essentially be a band-aid in their secondary is understandable. According to the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report, the Eagles currently have about $4.8 in available cap space, and they still need to save some of that cap for second round pick Landon Dickerson who has yet to sign his rookie deal.
Dickerson’s cap hit is estimated to be about $1.5 million when he signs, leaving the team with about $3.3 million in available space.
Ideally, the Eagles would be able to persuade Nelson to take a long-term deal so they won’t have to pay him as much up front, but that’s obviously not what Nelson is looking for. He wants to sign a one-year deal, boost his stock as much as possible, and cash-in next offseason with a big free agency contract.
Of course, the Eagles would have plenty of room to sign Nelson for at least $3 million this year if they cut ties with tight end Zach Ertz. You’re guess is as good as mine when it comes to Ertz’s future with the team. And it’s worth debating which is more valuable to the Eagles this season: holding onto Ertz and giving Jalen Hurts an extra weapon to work with, or letting Ertz go to shore up the Eagles secondary with Nelson.
I tend to side with the latter here, but I can see the argument for either one.
The Eagles literally don’t have a starting caliber corner on their roster outside of Darius Slay. At least the team has Dallas Goedert at tight end with Richard Rodgers backing him up.
Regardless if the team decides to bring Nelson in, expect them to make some sort of move to address their cornerback position before training camp. CB2 is the only glaring hole on this team at the moment — addressing that weakness in a meaningful way would go a long way in deciding the fate of the 2021 Eagles.
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