2012 Salary Cap

Steelers Able To Tender Restricted Free Agents Without More Cuts Or Restructures Should They Choose

Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk posted the latest updated cap numbers of all 32 teams on Sunday and shows the Pittsburgh Steelers as being $10.5 million under the cap. Now in his post he says that those numbers reflect 2011 rollover cap space, which the Steelers will use, and franchise tags amounts, which the Steelers of course did not use. Although Florio does not clarify, I believe that $10.5 number does not include restricted tenders or exclusive rights tenders, which would make sense and match my numbers. I also assume Florio is accounting for the LTBE (likely to be earned) roster bonuses as well. Those players set to earn roster bonuses for the Steelers are Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert, Rashard Mendenhall and Ziggy Hood.

Assuming all of the above is correct, and that is a big assumption, the Steelers have room for the three exclusive rights tenders to Jeremy Kapinos, Steve McLendon and Isaac Redman. They also should have room for the restricted tenders to Mike Wallace ($2.742M), Doug Legursky ($1.927M or $1.26M), Ramon Foster ($1.927M or $1.26M), David Johnson ($1.26M), Ryan Mundy ($1.26M) and Keenan Lewis ($1.26M). You will notice two amounts for Legursky or Foster as this is the only real question left to be answered as they could place a 2nd round or original round tenders on either of them. Should they tender Legursky and Foster at the second round level, the rule of 51 number should be around $118,552,182.00 million and if they choose to tender both at the original round level the rule of 51 number will be around $117,842,182.00 million.

So basically it should not come as a big surprise if both Will Allen or Jonathan Scott are not terminated on Tuesday. Of course as you can see, there is not much room to go free agent shopping either, not that we should expect any early on per usual. They do however have a little wiggle room though to sign a bargain player or two should they choose to early on in the period, however I expect it will not happen in the first week of free agency. Remember that Tuesday is just the first key date for the Steelers salary cap wise with the next being draft day.

If the Steelers adjusted cap number includes the $506,000 rollover from 2011, it should mean that their cap number that they are working with is $121,106,000.00 million. So either way they will be under based on the above tender scenarios. Does this mean that more terminations or restructures are not on the way? Absolutely not, but it doesn\’t necessarily mean that they have to do them by the start of the new league year that begins Tuesday afternoon. Does this mean that Allen and Scott are safe long term? Absolutely not, but the numbers say that they could still remain on the roster past Tuesday at least. As I posted Saturday night, cutting Allen saves $1.28 million initially, but you have to factor in the displacement cost of another player moving up to the top 51. So basically if they release Allen, they truly only save $890,000 in cap space. Scott is the other player I mentioned and when you factor in the displacement cost of terminating his contract, the Steelers only save $1.81 million by doing so.

As far as the possible restructures go moving forward that I mentioned Saturday, I really still think they are trying their best not to do any more if they can help it as I stated. I am not saying they won\’t do any of them by the time the season starts, I just think they will not be doing any between now and draft day at least. Casey Hampton remains the biggest pawn left in their salary cap game right now in my opinion. They have been able to accommodate his 2012 cap hit up until this point, but it doesn\’t mean they will be able to up until the start of the season. Outside of Hampton, Allen and Scott, they should have enough room to maneuver around for now and that includes still having a little room to get a new deal done with Wallace between now and Tuesday evening. I had quite a bit of optimism that a new deal would be reached by now, but every minute that ticks away right now, my optimism shrinks. I am still not ready to rule it out though while there is still time left on the clock. Even if he does hit free agency though, my optimism remains that no other team will sign him to an offer sheet.

Is it Tuesday yet?

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