PITTSBURGH — Less than an hour after imploring the Pittsburgh Steelers not to hold him “hostage,” cornerback Steven Nelson was released by the club.
The move, which saves $8.25 million in cap space, was an expected one after the team granted Nelson permission to seek a trade last week, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Without a trade partner, the team let its onetime starting cornerback walk.
Shortly after his release, Nelson took to Twitter again to thank the team for granting his wish and for his time with the organization.
Pittsburgh much love I appreciate the opportunity and the relationships I gained along the way Respect to a Class A organization from top down. Thank you to my day 1 supporters and can’t forget my haters you motivate me more than you know🎯 #nelsonisland
— Steve Nelson (@Nelson_Island) March 23, 2021
Nelson was acquired by the Steelers via free agency in 2019, signing a three-year, $25.5 million deal — the most lucrative free-agent deal in franchise history for the first week of unrestricted free agency — after a four-year stint in Kansas City.
Nelson started 30 games in two seasons for the Steelers, recording 3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 95 solo tackles — including 2 for loss.
With Nelson’s departure, the Steelers lose a fifth defensive starter in the offseason as he joins Tyson Alualu, Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree and Vince Williams to leave by either release or free-agency signing.
The Steelers have starting cornerback Joe Haden still under contract, and the team also re-signed cornerback Cam Sutton, making him a prime candidate to take over Nelson’s now-vacated job.