Steven Nelson – Cornerback
Steven Nelson is largely in the same boat as Jerry Hughes. He’s an older player and the Texans have some talented, younger corners on the roster. He’s 30 years old and the oldest in the cornerback room. The Texans have guys like Derek Stingley Jr. who is expected to grow in year two and others such as Shaquil Griffin and Desmond King III. There is talent and a veteran presence already.
Nelson earned a respectable coverage grade from PFF for his 2022 performance with a grade of 72 but his run defense was an abysmal 39.2. Coach Ryans is looking for players that will help bolster the Texans' run defense and Nelson is not that guy. On top of that, he’s been in the league for eight years now but only recorded nine career interceptions. He may be a steady player but he’s not going to make game-changing plays for you.
The downside for the Texans though is his contract situation. He’s set to make a base salary this season of $4 million and if the Texans were to cut him, they would incur a dead cap of $6.5 million. The team would actually lose money on the 2023 cap if they were to release him. However, he is a trade option because that dead cap becomes only $2 million, and Houston would save nearly $4.5 million.