This news both is and isn’t surprising.
It IS surprising in the sense that the Eagles signed Nelson to a one-year contract worth $1.6 million on the first day of free agency. It was reported that the Denver Broncos (Nelson’s old team) matched Philadelphia’s offer but Nelson chose the Eagles because he felt like he had a better chance of earning playing time as a weakside linebacker.
It is NOT surprising in the sense that Nelson never seemed to be a serious contender in the weakside competition. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry, who rotated with the first team, were clearly ahead of him on the depth chart in training camp. It was easy to forget Nelson was even on the team this summer; he was basically invisible in practice and games. Nelson was clearly a free agent flop for the Eagles.
Releasing Nelson is a no-brainer move for the Eagles when you consider cutting him saves the team $1 million in cap space. Even more importantly, cutting Nelson could potentially prevent the Eagles from losing a sixth-round compensatory pick in the 2019 NFL Draft (more explanation here).
The Eagles will move forward with either Gerry or Grugier-Hill (or a rotation?) at WILL.
Philadelphia’s roster currently stands at 89 players. The team must trim down to 53 by 4:00 PM ET on Saturday, September 1.