Steelers will need to cut Haden or Nelson to improve CB room

Joe Haden Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Joe Haden Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson (22). Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

Cutting Steven Nelson

The Nelson signing seemed like a great move for the Steelers after last season. The former Chief only allowed 50 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed and he allowed no touchdowns. Something seems to have changed though, as this season he has been a train wreck. He has allowed 60.9 percent of the passes his way to be completed and has given up five touchdowns already. To go along with that, he is credited for allowing 436 yards given up just halfway through the season (he only gave up 491 last year). The final nail in his 2020 coffin of bad play is the horrendous 110.4 rating quarterbacks have when targeting him.

There seems to be little reasoning as to why Nelson is struggling so much. He had another year to get acclimated to the defense, so in theory, his numbers should have been better. Instead, he has struggled mightily as a corner, and his roster spot next year is looking far less likely than it did last year. He is still young, meaning this likely isn’t regression and he could bounce back. The issue is the Steelers would seemingly have to bet on a bounce-back if they kept him over Haden.

Worse yet, Nelson accounts for a cap hit of 14.42 million next year, and the Steelers could save 8.25 million if they cut the veteran. While it would be risky to keep an aging Haden over Nelson, play quality definitely favors Haden. Regardless, given the nature of the two cap hits, it seems like only one of Haden or Nelson will be on this roster next year. If Nelson can’t improve his game over the latter half of the year, he will likely be the odd man out.