The NY Jets made extensive changes at a number of positions this offseason, but one position that remains wholly unchanged is cornerback. Could the Jets make a run at free-agent cornerback Steven Nelson as a potential fix?
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus recently put together a list of the best fits for the top remaining free agents on the market. Nelson was, of course, included as perhaps the best available free agent still unsigned.
And PFF listed the Jets as the team that would be the best fit for Nelson.
Linsey highlighted the Jets' gaping hole at the cornerback position and insisted that Nelson would be an excellent addition to cap off what has been an incredibly successful offseason for Gang Green.
"The position that [the Jets] neglected in that process was cornerback, and their projected starting trio of Blessuan Austin, Bryce Hall, and Javelin Guidry is now in the running for worst in the NFL. Nelson’s release from Pittsburgh this offseason was due to money rather than poor play. Over the past four seasons, he has allowed a completion percentage of just 55.0% into his coverage, 10th at the position. He’s one of the better fits still available for Robert Saleh’s zone-heavy defense."- Ben Linsey
The NY Jets would be wise to target Steven Nelson
Nelson was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers back in March as a cost-cutting measure — a surprising move given how well he's played over the last two years.
After developing into a starting-caliber cornerback in Kansas City, Nelson broke out with the Steelers in 2019 finishing with an elite 80.5 Pro Football Focus grade which was sixth-best among all cornerbacks in the NFL.
His 2020 season wasn't as strong, but he was still ranked in the top-36 at his position by PFF. Nelson has been Pittsburgh's best cornerback over the last two seasons, and he'd easily be the top player on the Jets' cornerback depth chart.
The trio of Bryce Hall, Blessuan Austin, and Javelin Guidry are currently slotted in as starters for the Jets. The team also added the likes of Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock, and Brandin Echols on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
They have a lot of young blood, but very few sure things. The Jets could certainly use a veteran addition and Nelson would not only provide a short-term boost to the secondary, but he's young enough to stick around for multiple years.
The Oregon State product just turned 28-years-old in January and is likely looking for a multi-year deal — somewhat of a rarity in mid-May.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on Wednesday that up to 14 teams have shown interest in signing Nelson, although the Jets were not one of the teams he listed. Does that mean the Jets don't have interest? Not necessarily.
However, it does seem like a longshot that they actually sign him at this point.
Regardless, it's easy to see why the Jets are a perfect fit for Steven Nelson. This is a signing that should, but probably won't, happen.