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Report: CB Steven Nelson Didn’t Ask Steelers To Trade Him

Are you still steaming mad about the way things played out with the Pittsburgh Steelers and cornerback Steven Nelson? If so, it’s certainly understandable. That said, it sounds like you might want to direct your anger at the Steelers and not Nelson.

According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Tuesday afternoon, Nelson did not ask the Steelers to trade him. Instead, the Steelers told Nelson he had permission to see a trade or be released. We obviously saw a few hours ago what the result was.

Was Nelson being jettisoned so quickly and unexpectedly related to the Steelers current salary cap situation? That certainly appears to have been the case. Bob Labriola of wrote Tuesday morning in his Asked and Answered column that it his understanding that the Steelers were looking to create salary cap space and that they needed to make a choice between cutting Nelson or fellow veteran cornerback Joe Haden and that the decision was made to keep the latter as he was deemed the better player of the two. Labriola went on to speculate that the Steelers recently re-signing of cornerback Cameron Sutton made one of Nelson or Haden expendable. The Steelers then told Nelson he could seek a trade.

Trading Nelson and his $8.25 million salary for 2021 was going to be a tough chore and especially with the cornerback in the final year of his contract and in a down free agent market at that. The fact that the Steelers couldn’t even get as much as a seventh-round draft pick for Nelson speaks volumes, in my honest opinion.

Was Nelson right to voice his displeasure on Twitter the right move on his part? Well, it got him back on the market, so I suppose it was. I guess some will make him out to be the villain in all of this but on the surface, and at least judging by what we know at the time of me writing this, he shouldn’t be looked upon that way. Quite frankly, he was probably blindsided by all of this. After seeing what the New York Giants paid cornerback Adoree’ Jackson in the last 24 hours, Nelson probably knew he needed to get on the market quick.

At some point, Nelson will get signed by another team and not long after that he’ll likely have a media session. When both of those things happen, maybe he’ll tell more of his side of the story and how he went from a player that many of us thought might sign a contract extension with the Steelers at some point during the offseason, to being a former member of the team in just a few days.

The Steelers saved almost $7.5 million in net salary cap space as a result of them parting ways with Nelson. In retrospect, it certainly looks like the Steelers plan was to first get Sutton re-signed on the cheap and then part ways with Nelson once able to do so. It certainly wasn’t pretty the way this all played out, but we must remember that the NFL is a business just the same. Sometimes it just is not pretty.

In closing, all of us should be wishing Nelson nothing but the best as he exits the Steelers. He gave the team two good seasons and looked like he was headed for a third. Until I’m convinced otherwise, I don’t think he forced himself out of Pittsburgh. Instead, I think the Steelers forced him out of Pittsburgh.

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