The Steelers players had the day off on day five of training camp, but there was still quite a bit of news nonetheless. So here is your Monday, day 5 recap.
The day started with an interview of Kevin Colbert on 93.7 The Fan and Colbert candidly covered quite a few topics with his answers. One of the things he was asked was if nose tackle Chris Hoke would be re-signed. Colbert said he they were working on him and sure enough they were, as a short time later word surfaced that Hoke had agreed to terms on a one-year deal. There is no word on the money involved but the minimum for a player with as many accrued years as Hoke has is $910,000, so I am willing to bet his number is right near $1 million or so. Regardless, it is great to have him back in the fold as he is versatile and brings veteran leadership back to the lockerroom.
The agent for Dennis Dixon made some noise yesterday that his client wanted the opportunity to start somewhere else and wanted the Steelers to trade him. Less than 24 hours later though it was announced that Dixon would indeed sign his one-year tender and he will be in camp on Thursday. Dixon made the wise choice and he may be showcased a bit in preseason in an effort to trade him. The only problem with that is the fact that teams could have just offered him a modest 2-year, $3 million dollar deal or so plus their 5th round pick in 2012 and I doubt the Steelers would have matched the offer. There obliviously is not much interest in him and it is hard to believe any will develop unless an injury happens. Dixon is perhaps one bad preseason away from the CFL. We shall see.
Not long after lunch a source let me know what the details are in the new 4-year deal of Ike Taylor. The deal totals out at $28 million and includes $9 million guaranteed. Taylor will count approximately $3.7 million against the cap in 2011 and around $7.7 in 2012. The Steelers will have the decision then to keep him or eat the remaining $3.5 million in remaining bonus. It was a good and fair deal for both sides.
We knew some restructures were forthcoming and Ed Bouchette let us know later in the afternoon that Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison and Brett Keisel all have agreed to restructure their contracts to free up some cap room for this year. The amount will be taken off their 2011 base and turned into signing bonus money that can be stretched out over the remaining years of each player’s contract. This is not a reduction in salary mind you; it is just pushing the money around for accounting purposes to future years. There may be one or two players still left to restructure before Thursday and it could be either Hines Ward, Chris Kemoeatu or Casey Hampton that they go to for restructures. Time will tell.
I close the recap today with my latest update to the Steelers 2011 salary cap page. It includes all the recent signings as well as the draft picks and rookies, but does not include the restructure amounts as we will have to see if that info surfaces on Thursday. Before the restructures, I have the Steelers around $130 million or so. That is $7 million over the cap using my numbers. I think my margin of error right now is pretty big as I do not have the complete numbers to a few that re-signed this week. Those should surface soon. After the restructures today, I think the Steelers could indeed be right on top of the $123 million number. The Wednesday or Thursday transaction wire will be full of moves as the Steelers must be cap compliant by Thursday evening.
The Steelers players will be back on the field on Tuesday with a morning walkthrough followed by the late afternoon practice that starts right around 3:00 p.m. I will have full update of practice again on Tuesday and Nick Richetta will be calling in his full report after practice ends as well. David Todd and I also have another podcast planned for Tuesday as well.