Cornerback is one of the weaker roster spots for the Chicago Bears, but the team seems to be trying to fix that. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Bears are one of several teams showing interest in former Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers starting corner Steven Nelson.
A former third-round selection for Kansas City out of Oregon State in 2015 (98th overall), Nelson spent his first four seasons with the Chiefs, playing in 52 games and starting 38. He headed to Pittsburgh after that, where he signed a three-year deal. He started 15 games in each of the last two seasons, but was released in a cap-saving move by the Steelers this offseason.
“In Steve Nelson’s case, Steve was a valuable player for us,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said, per Steelers Now. “However, we had to make some tough salary cap related decisions. Steve Nelson is a starter-capable NFL corner. We just couldn’t keep him under the current setup that we had or the current setup that we’re dealing with from a salary cap standpoint, and we had to make some tough choices.”
Now, with a little luck, the Steelers’ loss could be the Bears’ gain.
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Steven Nelson: Stats at a Glance
The 5’11”, 198-pound corner earned a 67.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus last season. He allowed a very respectable 82.3 passer rating and 11.2 yards per catch when targeted in 2020, while amassing 42 solo tackles, a fumble recovery, nine passes defensed and two interceptions.
Over his six seasons in the league, Nelson has 291 total tackles, seven picks, 10 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, 52 passes defensed and a forced fumble. An encouraging sign is that most of these numbers have come over his last three seasons.
Free agent CB Steven Nelson over the last three years:
• 54.3 comp. % allowed
• 32 pass deflections
• 7 interceptions
• Just two games missed
If the #Bears can find a way to sign him, that would be a massive upgrade to their secondary.
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) May 12, 2021
He is also a hard hitter who would fit right in on this Bears defense:
— Austin F (@PodGuyFuges) May 12, 2021
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Where Would Nelson Land on Current Bears Depth Chart?
With vets Buster Skrine and All-Pro Kyle Fuller both gone after last season, the Bears signed ex-Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons corner Desmond Trufant to a one-year deal to presumably take the now-departed Fuller’s spot on the right side.
Behind Trufant, there’s Duke Shelley, Teez Tabor and Xavier Crawford on the right side, and second-year stud Jaylon Johnson will start on the left side. Behind Johnson are Artie Burns, Kindle Vildor and former CFL standout Tre Roberson.
The addition of Nelson would more than give Trufant some definite competition — I think Nelson would be the likely starter if the Bears managed to land him. Fowler noted that Chicago was one of 14 teams who had expressed strong interest in signing him, so the ball will likely be in Nelson’s court. For his part, the veteran corner said on Twitter that until he is signed, he is going to continue “doing me, being patient, grinding. Money definitely good this way.”
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