After signing Mike Hilton to a $24-million deal earlier this offseason, the Bengals are among the teams with interest in cornerback Steven Nelson.
Cornerback Steven Nelson’s market has been strong since becoming a free agent. Nelson has interest and has heard from 14 teams including #Texans #Bears #Eagles #Bengals and #Bills, per source. He continues to be patient waiting for right fit and opportunity.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 12, 2021
Nelson is one of the top cornerbacks still on the market, and the Bengals aren’t alone in the quest for his services. They are among almost half the NFL teams that also have an interest in Nelson, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The free-agent market has drastically cooled down since originally kicking off in March; however, as with Nelson, top-tier talent is still available. Players like Richard Sherman, Ryan Kerrigan and Geno Atkins are still unsigned.
As for Nelson, he’s “waiting for right fit and opportunity.”
After signing two cornerbacks this offseason, the Bengals could still use help on the edge. Chidobe Awuzie, Trae Waynes, Darius Phillips, and Hilton currently hold down the fort. Nelson could easily make his way into that rotation if signed.
While he’s not a superstar, Nelson has consistently started for one of the top defenses in the NFL, which is no easy feat. In 15 starts last season, he recorded 48 tackles, nine pass defenses and three interceptions.
That wasn’t even close to Nelson’s best season in the NFL, though. Originally a third-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs, Nelson’s best days so far have been in Kansas City. He’s spent the last two seasons in Pittsburgh though, starting a combined 30 games.
The Bengals have the cap space to give Nelson an offer that couldn’t easily be matched, and potentially bringing him in for just one season, it might be a nice addition and use of cap.
With the addition of Trey Hendrickson, Hilton, and Awuzie along while targeting defensive ends in the draft, the Bengals clearly have made it a priority to bring in talent on that side of the ball.