The early news this morning is that the new CBA could help teams keep high priced veterans as opposed to making them salary cap casualties. While PFT and others on Twitter have not expanded on this, it seems this could be some sort of soft cap that allows credits to players with a certain amount of accrued years in the league. We can only speculate on this right now until the new labor deal is reached.
So which Steelers players could this affect? The most obvious would be players like Flozell Adams and Aaron Smith, but could include a few more depending on what the new deal considers a veteran player. While Hines Ward does not have to worry about being a cap casualty, his veteran status might qualify for a credit as well, but that is only speculation on my part. There was talk last week that one of the provisions still being discussed is a one-player cap exemption for each team that might act as a $3 million credit that would count against benefits paid out.
If you think about it though, the last thing the players want in a new agreement would be to run their veterans out of a job and giving credits initially for the first year or two of the new labor deal would help teams start planning ahead instead of having to make drastic changes. Maybe we will not see as many cap casualties as we think we might and the Steelers may only need to get LaMarr Woodley extended and perhaps move some numbers around on the contracts of Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Keisel and Ward to convert base salary dollars into amortized signing bonus money to lower their 2011 cap hits. Will this be enough to get them cap complaint? It should be and if Smith takes a pay cut, it might be all they need to do. We shall see.