4 plug-and-play free agents still available for the Panthers

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Jerick McKinnon
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Jerick McKinnon /
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Carolina Panthers
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) Steven Nelson /

Steven Nelson – CB

  • 2020 team – Pittsburgh Steelers

It appears as if the Pittsburgh Steelers had enough of Steven Nelson long before they released him. The organization was reportedly looking for a trade suitor before the cornerback began stirring the pot on social media, which eventually led to a parting of the ways ahead of time.

As fortune would have it, the Carolina Panthers are looking for a prominent starter to put alongside Donte Jackson and have the necessary cap space available to get a deal worked out with Nelson if there is a mutual interest. The former Oregon State star performed at a high level for the Steelers in 2020, giving up 43 receptions from 76 targets on his way to a respectable 67.1 grade from Pro Football Focus.

This followed on from a sensational 2019 campaign that showcased Nelson as a corner with shutdown potential and resulted in a PFF grade of 80.5. Just why there was such an acrimonious departure is up for debate, but there should be no shortage of suitors where the player is concerned.

Much will depend on the money involved, as is the case with every free-agent move this offseason.

However, there are few that would argue that Nelson isn’t a significant upgrade on anything Carolina has to put opposite Jackson currently. If the organization could get him on board, it would give their young and ever-improving defense another massive boost.