Why the Bills should sign CB Steven Nelson

He would give them a legitimate second starter and make the depth chart stronger.
Author:
Publish date:

The Buffalo Bills might have their long-term second starter at cornerback in Dane Jackson or Taron Johnson or Levi Wallace or rookie sixth-round draft pick Rachad Wildgoose.

But adding free agent Steven Nelson would give them more of a sure thing while allowing everyone else not named Tre'Davious White extra time to develop.

Nelson has played six years in the NFL, the last two with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who released him in a cost-cutting move to help them stay under the salary cap. He has seven interceptions, all within the past three seasons, and 52 pass breakups.

Even if it's only a one-year deal, Nelson's presence would help those who are left behind when he's gone.

The Bills already have many young corners who could prove to be the answer, starting with Jackson, a seventh-round pick out of Pitt last year.

"He’s a young man that we believe will be able to compete to start next year," general manager Brandon Bean said in February. "We’re obviously going to bring in competition for him. But he’s a guy we’ve got high hopes for as a young player that showed us it wasn’t too big for him.

"Some guys, you know, just have a natural feel for the game. You can coach guys all day long and you put them out there and some guys just feel routes or can read that quarterback… And he showed some things in about five games this year.”

Wallace, who went undrafted out of Alabama in 2018, did more than a credible job over the previous two seasons.

Johnson was the hero of their playoff win over Baltimore after returning an interception 101 yards for a touchdown. Like Wallace, he's entering his fourth year and may not have even reached his athletic peak yet.

The Bills are in win-now mode, however, and having Nelson around can help with their pass coverage and, in turn, give their bolstered pass rush a better chance to get home.

The issue, as with many free agents, is cost.

Nelson senses that the longer he goes unsigned, the more likely someone will be to blink and give him an inflated contract.

That's something the Bills are too disciplined to do.

Besides, they don't have to get him.

But they should at least want to check in with him, see where he's at and ask if winning a Super Bowl before turning 30 is worth more than getting more guaranteed money from a lesser team.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at www.si.com/nfl/bills and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro.