Will Eagles be in play for Steven Nelson after June 1st cap changes?

NFL: DEC 08 Steelers at Cardinals
GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 08: Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) and Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson (22) look on during the NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals on December 8, 2019 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

June 1st is almost upon us and while that means the Sun will likely be shining as Summer draws near, for the Eagles, there’s more serious ramifications. Jimmy Kempski did a fantastic job of breaking this down earlier today, citing that the Philadelphia Eagles could well be in play to make one last splash before Training Camp. But will they have enough in the tank to bring Steven Nelson to Philly?

The cap savings

Kempski notes that the Eagles will gain additional $4M in cap space right off the bat thanks to the post-June 1st designations given to Malik Jackson and Alshon Jeffery. Added to their $3.8M currently available, that leaves them with around $7.8M with. Approximately $3.6M of that cap space will be needed to sign this years’ rookie class however, leaving them with $4.2M.

That alone may not be enough to see the Eagles surge into the trade market just yet, but we also know that the team have feverishly floated Zach Ertz over the eyes of opposing GMs all offseason long with no takers. Parting ways with Ertz after tomorrow would save them $8.5M, which is $4M than if they were to do so during the Draft or any time before then. Admittedly, the returns would be a lot lower and the trading of Ertz would simply be a ‘salary dump’ move at that point. The Eagles could potentially snag a late-round pick in exchange for the services of the veteran tight end, but the significant part of the trade would be the amount of immediate capital raised to give Roseman more ammunition.

More moves on deck?

We have covered two more potential trades that make sense for the Eagles this offseason Andre Dillard and Derek Barnett. Barnett’s $10M cap-hit was guaranteed long ago, so no change here for him, but the Eagles could actually end up saving a further $1M if they trade Dillard after tomorrow as opposed to a $600k loss that was set to be netted beforehand.

If we assume that the Eagles go into this final window with around $4.2M at their disposal without making any additional moves, would this be enough to lure a talent like Steven Nelson to Philadelphia?

Steven Nelson to Philadelphia?

The Eagles have blatantly ignored what was one of their biggest roster needs this offseason. An outside corner to pair with Darius Slay has been circled in red by just about everybody except the team it seems. They may well be looking to see what Jonathan Gannon can do with players like Kevon Seymour and Michael Jacquet, but there is a chance that they were holding out to see if they can one final push for a player who shockingly remains unsigned.

This was a risky strategy if it really is the case as it’s not like former Steelers corner hasn’t drawn interest all offseason. He is holding out for a bag and has made that clear on social media, but there have been no takers up to this point. Nelson tweeted earlier today that tomorrow is almost going to act as a judgement day for teams currently in need of cornerback help and how much they’re willing to bet that they’re better off by not signing him.

Nelson’s two-year stint with the Steelers was strong. Allowing less than 50% of balls his way to be completed in 2020, he amassed 2 interceptions along with 10 pass breakups and 48 tackles. At 28-years-old, he’s in his prime and one of the better man-cover corners in the league. The problem is that the Eagles have now changed to a zonal defense and it may not be the best fit for his skill set.

What it really comes down to is how much money Nelson really wants. It clearly has to be more than what teams were willing to pay for his services prior to tomorrow’s crucial date, but will that change with more funds available to teams?

He is coming off of a three-year deal worth $25M, $7.5M of which was guaranteed. The Eagles could well look to give him a one-year prove it deal, but he earned $8M in 2020 alone and there’s no questioning he’s going to want more than that. If it is Steven Nelson the Eagles want, then they’re likely going to have to move on from either Zach Ertz, Derek Barnett, or Andre Dillard even with tomorrow’s increased cap ceiling.

Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire