The Steelers abruptly released cornerback Steven Nelson last month, after giving him a chance to seek a trade. The team did not give Nelson a chance to take a pay cut before cutting him.
“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.”
It’s unclear whether Nelson would have accepted less than the $8.25 million he was due to earn this season. He said that he wanted an extension, one that would have created cap space while acknowledged that he had outperformed his contract. Eventually, he simply wanted out, pleading with the team on social media to not hold him hostage.
Nelson’s line surely was influenced by the mantra from coach Mike Tomlin, “We can’t do this with hostages, man. We need volunteers.” Regardless, he didn’t get a chance to volunteer to remain on the team for less money.
Nelson added that 10 to 15 teams have serious interest in his services. Given that the draft is only 23 days away, it’s possible at this point that Nelson’s best opportunity for a new team will come after interested teams address their needs at the position, or not, via incoming rookies.