Free Agency Outlook: What should the Eagles do with Steven Nelson?
The Eagles’ secondary had one of their best seasons in recent memory in 2021, finally finding a stable core around Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox. But after locking those two into long-term deals, fellow starting cornerback Steven Nelson is still hitting the market this offseason.
Nelson had a decent campaign for Philadelphia after signing a one-year deal before the start of the season. The Eagles needed a serviceable corner opposite Darius Slay and turned to Nelson. Luckily, he was able to be just that, starting in every game (except the final one) while allowing Avonte Maddox to thrive in his more natural position in the slot.
He left a lot to be desired in pass coverage, however. Allowing a 108.4 passer rating and 5 TDs when targeted this season, Nelson’s 60.6 coverage grade ranks 118th in the league amongst cornerbacks.
With Slay just turning 31 in December, GM Howie Roseman will undoubtedly look to get younger at cornerback in the draft. However, Nelson did just turn 29 and still has plenty in the tank. It is possible teams could pull a Patrick Robinson and overpay for Nelson, so it’s not worth bringing him back unless the price is right.
Since they have four picks in the first two rounds of the 2022 Draft, it’s very likely one of those is in the secondary. If that’s the case, there’s no need to bring back Nelson this offseason.
He was great in his role for Philly, and if the opportunity presents itself without being too expensive, the Eagles should certainly jump on it. But with how corners are valued in the current market, his contract could end up out of the Eagles’ price range this offseason.
Mandatory Credit: NBC Sports