Steelers 2012 salary cap numbers released soon

By Christina Rivers

It\’s the numbers that many have been waiting for, and according to Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network, the National Football League is nearly set to release them to all 32 team by the end of the week. La Canfora posted on Twitter:

La Canfora admitted he\’d like to see the numbers be over the $120M this season. Many teams probably feel the same way.

The league-wide cap number will affect franchise tag numbers, which are calculated by determining a percentage of the salary cap each position\’s franchise tender has represented over the last five season, although individual teams had the option to carryover any unused cap room from last year, creating an \’adjusted cap number\’.

Under the new CBA, instead of taking the average of the top-5 salary numbers from the 2011 season at each position (top-10 for \’transition tag\’), the amounts of the franchise and transition tags at each position from the past five seasons will be added up and divided by the sum of the salary caps from the past five seasons. Because the 2012 season was \’uncapped\’, the league will use the average of the 2009 and 2011 salary caps. The result – the percentage will be multiplied by the salary cap from the upcoming season to figure the non-exclusive franchise tag and transition tag amounts. Exclusive franchise tags will be the greater of the franchise tag under the new calculations. This places \’original round/ROFR\’ numbers around $1.26 million. Estimated numbers for the First Round tender will be around $2.74 million.

Obviously, the Steelers have been at the top as far as active NFL teams in the off-season. They were able to cut out around $25M while losing (or cutting) James Farrior, Hines Ward, Bryant McFadden, Aaron Smith, Chris Kemoeatu and Arnaz Battle. Via re-structuring of contracts, the Steelers were able to clear more cap room on the contracts of Ben Roethlisberger, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Ike Taylor and Willie Colon. The biggest question still looming is whether it was enough space to save Mike Wallace or not, and it is a big question that just keeps coming up.

It isn\’t likely that the Steelers will be very active, if at all, in free agency. That shouldn\’t come as much of a surprise, however, as the Steelers have traditionally not been aggressive when it comes to free agency. The Steelers have an extraordinary system in place that has allowed them to draft the players that fit in the organization and then rewarding those players with long-term contracts that prevent free agency issues long-term. Key free agents headed into the free agency period are:

WR Jerricho Cotchery (unrestricted)
QB Charlie Batch (unrestricted)
QB Dennis Dixon (unrestricted)
QB Byron Leftwich (unrestricted)
RB Mewelde Moore (unrestricted)
T Max Starks (unrestricted)
T Trai Essex (unrestricted)
CB William Gay (unrestricted)
DB Anthony Madison (unrestricted)
P Daniel Sepulveda (unrestricted)
WR Mike Wallace (restricted)
CB Keenan Lewis (restricted)
G Doug Legursky (restricted)
G Ramon Foster (restricted)
TE David Johnson (restricted)
S Ryan Mundy (restricted)
NT Steve McLendon (exclusive rights)
RB Issac Redman (exclusive rights)
P Jeremy Kapinos (exclusive rights)

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