The Philadelphia Eagles have added some help to their secondary by signing cornerback Steven Nelson.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Nelson's contract is a one-year deal worth up to $4.125 million including incentives and a base salary of $2.5 million.
Nelson joins the Eagles after spending the last two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Oregon State corner was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 98 overall pick in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Nelson spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Chiefs before leaving to join the Steelers in 2019. Following the 2020 season, with one year remaining on his three-year deal, Pittsburgh released Nelson at his request on March 23, 2021.
During his six-year career, Nelson has played in 82 games and started 68, making a total of 291 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, one quarterback hit, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries, 52 passes defended, and seven interceptions. Last season, Nelson played in and started 15 games, recording 48 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, nine passes defended, and two interceptions. He earned a 67.1 PFF grade for the 2020 season.
Now in Philadelphia, Nelson will provide a needed boost to the cornerback room. He will join veteran Darius Slay, who the Eagles traded a third and fifth-round pick to the Detroit Lions for last offseason and fourth-year 2018 fourth-round pick Avonte Maddox as the team's presumed starting trio at cornerback. Nelson is just the latest of defensive acquisitions made by Philadelphia this offseason. Other new faces for the 2021 Eagles on defense include safeties Anthony Harris and Andrew Adams, edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan, linebacker Eric Wilson, and cornerbacks Josiah Scott, Shakial Taylor, and Nate Meadors.
Philadelphia's defense finished the 2020 season ranked 19th in total yards allowed, 15th in total passing yards allowed, and 23rd in total rushing yards allowed. With second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts currently set to start the season as the team's starter with only four games with starting experience under his belt, the Eagles will likely need their defense to step up in 2021 in case the offense struggles in any given game. On paper, Philadelphia will have a much-improved secondary this year, which can make all the difference in today's pass-heavy NFL landscape.
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