With training camps opening en masse this week, I expect for there to be some late-in-the-game signings for teams rounding out rosters.
Perhaps the Bears will be one of those teams. And maybe it will even be for a player at a position of need. However, it won’t be with this particular cornerback:
Eagles have signed cornerback Steven Nelson to a one-year deal worth more than $4 million, per source. A top free agent cornerback is off the market.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 25, 2021
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports the Eagles are signing Steven Nelson to a one-year contract. It’s a move that bolster’s Philadelphia’s secondary with a player who has 82 games (68 starts) with the Chiefs (2015-18) and Steelers (2019-20). Good for them.
The 28-year-old cornerback was a notable lingering free agent who didn’t seem to have a market this past offseason. But back in May, the Bears were reportedly showing interest in signing Nelson. The Texans, Bengals, and Bills were also in the mix as Nelson was waiting for the right fit. Months later, it’s the Eagles emerging as the team landing Nelson.
Not coming away with Nelson feels like a missed opportunity for Chicago. The Bears’ top corner is Jaylon Johnson, a rising second-year player coming off an injury shortened season. Johnson enters camp healthy, but his situation is worth monitoring. Also coming off a season cut short by injury is the Bears’ other starting cornerback, Desmond Trufant. Elsewhere on the cornerback depth chart are Duke Shelley, Kindle Vildor, and Thomas Graham Jr. — all of whom are vying for more playing time in 2021. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if one (or two) of those three earn a starting role.
In the end, there was an obvious need and fit. So maybe another corner will come along who piques the Bears’ interest. If not, then they’ll ride into their schedule with their in-house options hoping for the best. That’s a dangerous path in the pass-happy NFL, but it might be the one Chicago takes.