Eagles Answer the Cornerback Question by Signing FA Steven Nelson

The deal is for $4M and now the team is set on the outside of their defense, with veteran Darius Slay working opposite Nelson
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One of the big questions since the 2021 NFL Draft came and went has been Darius Slay and who?

An answer was delivered on Sunday when the Eagles signed durable free agent cornerback Steven Nelson. The deal is reportedly worth $4 million, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Nelson, who is 5-11, 195, has made 46 starts out of a possible 48 the past three years.

Until the signing, Slay had been the lone proven commodity on the outside.

Slay knew it and actively recruited Nelson on Twitter.

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When the Eagles announced they had brought Nelson into the fold, Slay tweeted:

“Let’s goooo!!!”

There were concerns, to say the least, on who would play on the other side of Slay in a division stocked with wide receivers especially in Dallas, where Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup may be the best trio in the NFL.

The Giants loaded up at the receiver spot in the offseason, signing Kenny Golladay and drafting Kadarius Toney in the first round.

Avonte Maddox worked at outside CB last year but is better suited for the slot or even perhaps safety.

Now, the Eagles have their two starting cornerbacks heading into training camp, which begins Tuesday with players expected to report. The first practice is set for Wednesday at 10 a.m.

In order to keep their roster at 90, the Eagles had to release defensive tackle Willie Henry to make room for Nelson.

With Nelson on board, Maddox can move to a more natural position and also let rookie fourth-round pick Zech McPhearson percolate at his own pace and not be rushed into action.

Nelson, 28, is a former third-round pick out of Oregon State of the Kansas City Chiefs. He played four seasons in KC then joined the Steelers, for whom he played the last two years.

Pittsburgh released Nelson for salary camp reasons. He was due to make $8.5M this season.

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It is the second straight year the Eagles have signed a free agent from Pittsburgh. Last year, they signed defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who big things are expected from in his second year in Philadelphia.

Nelson has seven career interceptions. His only two last season came against Carson Wentz when the Eagles lost in Pittsburgh. Wentz’s new team, the Indianapolis Colts, isn’t on this year’s schedule.

That Nelson was still available at this stage of the offseason is somewhat surprising given his durability and ability, but whatever the reason for that, the Eagles should be happy to have the answer to one of their biggest offseason questions answered.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.