ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has made some predictions for late-stage free agency moves that could happen next month, and believes former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson will finally find a landing spot.
Barnwell predicts Nelson will head west and sign with the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year, $4.5 million deal.
After star cornerback Patrick Peterson left for Minnesota, Arizona is left with potential starters Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford on the outside. Barnwell believes those option are simply inadequate, and that adding Nelson would put the Cardinals in a much better place.
“Plenty of teams need cornerback help, but the Cardinals appear to be punting on it,” Barnwell writes. “Butler is a viable reclamation project, but Alford hasn’t played since 2018 as a result of injuries. Nelson would give the Cardinals a replacement in their lineup for Patrick Peterson and prevent them from having to count on Alford to stay healthy.”
Barnwell also provides some clarity as to why Nelson is still on the market and the Steelers thought him expendable.
“Despite reports that 14 teams have inquired about the former Chiefs cornerback, none of those teams have actually gotten a deal over the finish line,” Barnwell writes. “Per Pro Football Reference, Nelson allowed a 97.0 passer rating last year, up more than 31 points from his 2019 mark with the Steelers.”
While a reunion would clearly benefit both sides, the relationship between the Steelers and Nelson could be beyond repair. He was cut by the club back on March 23.
Nelson recorded 109 tackles, 17 passes defended and three interceptions while with Pittsburgh.