Steven Nelson’s Steelers exit didn’t go down exactly how fans in Pittsburgh think, and he cleared up the story.
Nelson was slotted in as the team’s CB2 at the end of last season. Yet, when Pittsburgh found itself in cap hell, something had to give. The Steelers opted to cut Nelson loose after they couldn’t find a trade partner for the 28-year-old. His previous contract was for three years and $25.5 million, but the Steelers had an out, which they used.
Per Nelson, the Steelers never approached him to rework his contract, instead opting to outright release him and side with Cam Sutton as their second cornerback in waiting behind veteran Joe Haden.
“I want to make it very clear,” Nelson said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Mark Kaboly of TheAthletic.com. “There was never a discussion of me taking a pay cut. I was never even given that opportunity to take a pay cut.”
Did the Steelers make the right call by cutting Steven Nelson?
Releasing Nelson was bold by Pittsburgh, especially since they’ve already lost a high number of starters on their elite defense from last season. Yet, Keith Butler and Co. don’t seem too disturbed by that notion, as their next-man-up mentality has been in place since Dick LeBeau was the defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh. Why would that change now with Nelson?
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers surely weren’t happy with how Nelson handled his impending exit in his last days with the team. Tomlin made that clear at his press conference the previous day.
“We can’t do this with hostages, man. We need volunteers,” Tomlin said at the time.
Nelson might’ve been willing to ‘volunteer’ for less money, but the Steelers didn’t even have that kind of financial flexibility.