2012 Salary Cap

Steelers Still In Good Shape Salary Cap Wise For 2012 Season

NFL.com is having a look at the salary cap situation of each and every team in the league and on Tuesday they posted about the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In the report they state that the Steelers adjusted cap number is $121.195 million. That number is derived by adding the $120,600,000 base 2012 salary cap figure to the $506,000 remaining cap space the Steelers had left over from 2011, which teams are allowed to roll over this year. There also appears to be an adjustment of around $89,000 which could be for various reasons such as a missed LTBE or something. I haven\’t fully tracked that one down just yet.

Where there still may be some confusion is with the extra money teams received via the salary cap penalty incurred by both the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. I initially thought this was added above and beyond the $120,600,000, but that seems not to be the case.

Adam Schefter reported back in March that 28 NFL teams would receive $1.6 million of additional cap space and that teams receiving money could also decide to split it over the 2012 and \’13 seasons. Shefter added in his piece that Cincinnati, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota and Tampa Bay chose not to take the additional room in 2012, and instead take it in 2013.

So judging by the above, it looks like the original base 2012 salary cap figure would have been $119 million and that $1.6 million brought it up to $120,600,000 for everyone except the five teams Schefter listed along with Dallas and Washington.

Now by numbers I currently have the Steelers at a $116,151,626 rule of 51 number, which would put them $4,643,374 under the $121.195 million adjusted cap number stated above. NFL.com states the Steelers are $3.734 million under the number, a difference of $909,374 from my number. I think I know where some of that money is that I missed, but haven\’t gotten around to verifying it. $25,000 or so of it is in signing bonuses given to the undrafted free agents I know. Regardless, I am pretty happy to be within $1 million of the number.

Now one other thing that should be noted is that I do not believe that the NFL.com numbers take into account the three $500K veteran salary cap credits that teams can use on players this year which is borrowed from future years. Last year it was three $1 million veteran cap credits and the Steelers did indeed use them. You can bet for sure that they will use the extra $1.5 million in credits this year as well. I do not think they have to designate those until just before week one of the regular season though. I am still trying to verify that as fact with a few agents that I have contact with.

Assuming the $1.5 million in credits are not yet accounted for in the NFL.com numbers, and I don\’t believe they are, that means the Steelers in essence have $5.234 million in cap space. Also keep in mind that the $2.742 million tender to Mike Wallace is accounted for in all of these numbers as is $390,000 for the still unsigned David DeCastro. When a player is drafted, the first year minimum base salary is accounted for until a player signs his contract.

DeCastro is expected to have a 2012 cap hit of around $1.6 million, so there will be a displacement increase of $1.21 million in the rule of 51 number. That would leave the Steelers with roughly $4.024 million in cap space.

So the next worry is if there will be enough cap space for Wallace and a new deal. Remember that he is already taking up $2.742 million now with his tender. That will be torn up if a new deal is reached, and I cant see the first year cap hit of his new deal being more than $5 million. If we use $5 million as his 2012 cap hit, that is a difference of only $2.258 million needed of the roughly $4.024 million in cap space available. That would leave the Steelers with roughly $1.766 million in cap space even including a high estimated $5 million first year cap hit on Wallace.

The bank of Jonathan Scott should also be considered as well, as he presents a cap savings of $2.2 million if released prior to the start of the season, which I believe he will be. That release coupled with a $5 million first year cap hit for Wallace would put the Steelers at roughly $3.966 million under the cap.

They will also need roughly another $1.5 million in cap space for their 52nd and 53rd players on the roster along with the practice squad, so that puts them back down to just under $2.5 million in cap space and right where they need to be entering the season.

I know all of the numbers are a bit confusing, but the long and short of it all is that the Steelers are perfectly fine from a salary cap standpoint as it relates to Wallace and the start of the season.

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