Steelers Trade Rumors: CB Steven Nelson Given Permission to Seek Move

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson (22) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
Gary McCullough/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers have granted cornerback Steve Nelson permission to seek a trade, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Nelson is set to enter the final year of his contract in 2021, and he will make $8.25 million, per Spotrac.

The 28-year-old Nelson entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015, and he has been a starter in Pittsburgh for the past two seasons.

Nelson enjoyed a breakout year for the Chiefs in 2018, starting all 16 games and recording a career-high 68 tackles and four interceptions to go along with 15 passes defended.

By virtue of that performance, Nelson landed a three-year contract with the Steelers, and he has formed a starting corner duo with Joe Haden for the past two seasons.

In 2019, Nelson appeared in and started 15 games, finishing with 61 tackles, one interception and eight pass breakups.

He followed that up by once again starting 15 games last season and recording 48 tackles, two picks and nine passes defended.

If the Steelers trade away Nelson, they will find themselves in a difficult situation in terms of corner depth, especially on the heels of slot corner Mike Hilton signing with the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals in free agency.

For now, Cameron Sutton would likely step in and serve as the new starter opposite Haden.

Sutton was a third-round pick by the Steelers out of Tennessee in 2017, and he has progressively become a bigger part of the defense over the years.

Last season, Sutton started a career-high six games and finished with 30 tackles, one interception, one sack and eight passes defended.

Per Spotrac, the Steelers signed Sutton to a two-year, $9 million contract extension this month, suggesting he is in the plans moving forward.

The Steelers, who own the No. 24 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, could also look to add to the cornerback position via the draft.

South Carolina's Jaycee Horn, Georgia's Tyson Campbell and Florida State's Asante Samuel Jr. are among the corners who could be available at that spot.