After posting an update Saturday on the Pittsburgh Steelers current salary cap situation for 2015, I received a few email requests asking that I post an update on the 2016 season.
While it’s still a little early for such an update being as a few extensions are likely to be completed between now and the start of the 2015 season, below is a look at where things currently sit for the 2016 team ahead of their third OTA session.
For starters, the team currently has 55 players under contract for the 2016 season and no dead money on the books. By the start of the 2015 season that will all change, however, as several of the undrafted free agents signed this year, along with a few of the draft picks, are sure to not make the final roster. That dead money that will be created by the forthcoming post-training camp cuts should be minimal.
The Steelers current Rule of 51 number for 2016 is roughly $132,574,305.34 and that’s a good $20 million under the currently projected $153 million cap number. There are a few things that should be kept in the back of your minds, however.
For starters, defensive end Cameron Heyward will have a new deal in place between now and the start of the 2015 season and his 2016 cap charge could be as high as $12 million as a result. By the time the 2016 season rolls around, however, his cap charge can be lowered as part of a restructure as he’ll be a prime candidate assuming he doesn’t suffer a serous injury in 2015. The Steelers will only do that if they really need the cap room.
While not guaranteed to happen, tackle Kelvin Beachum and nose tackle Steve McLendon might very well have their contracts extended prior to the start of the 2015 season as well. Should that wind up happening, Beachum would likely have a second year cap charge that might very well exceed $8 million. McLendon’s, on the other hand, would more than likely be less than $4 million.
Now, David DeCastro will be due an extension at this same time next year and that figures to drop his currently scheduled cap charge of $8.07 million down about $3-4 million. Additionally, running back Le’Veon Bell will be entering the final year of his rookie deal and thus figures to have an extension in place prior to the start of the 2016 season. That new deal will result in a much higher cap charge than the $1.1375 million that he currently has for 2016.
Also keep in mind that there will be a 2016 draft class that must be accommodated in addition to several undrafted free agents.
Now, like every year, there are bound to be a few cap casualties and while we are still a long way away from that happening, it’s pretty easy to identify the prime candidates.
Linebacker James Harrison leads my list and that will save the Steelers $1.25 million prior to displacement. I also believe that 2015 will be the last season in Pittsburgh for kicker Shaun Suisham and thus releasing him next March will clear $2.4 million in cap space prior to displacement.
Several of you will point to tight end Heath Miller, linebacker Lawrence Timmons, running back DeAngelo Williams, center Cody Wallace and tight end Matt Spaeth as being potential cap causalities next offseason, but I believe that the future of all five of those players is currently tied to how they play in 2015 and whether or not they can stay healthy. Of those five, I would list Timmons and Miller as the least likeliest to be cut as we sit here in June of 2015. Why would you release two productive players such as those two if you don’t have to? Miller’s cap charge in 2016 is very manageable while Timmons has only missed two games during his career and is coming off of a Pro Bowl season. As for the other three players I listed, we’ll see and keep in mind that Williams will be due $2 million in 2016.
So, what about a new deal for Antonio Brown next offseason? While it’s possible, don’t bet on it. Outside of quarterbacks, the Steelers just don’t normally do new deals with players who aren’t entering the final year of their current contract. I will be surprised if they change that philosophy for Brown, who isn’t likely to match his numbers from 2014 this upcoming season.
Overall, the Steelers look to be in great cap shape for 2016 based on my current rough projections and hopefully they won’t have to go to the bank of Ben Roethlisberger next offseason to free up any room.
I will update you on the Steelers 2016 cap situation in several more weeks when the expected extensions are done.
Steelers Current Salary Cap Situation for 2016
|Player||Base Salary||Cap Charge|
|Total 55 Players Under Contract||$99,100,408.00||$134,674,305.34|
|Total 2016 Dead Money||$0.00
|2016 Total Rule Of 51 Number||$132,574,305.34
|2016 Projected Salary Cap||$153,000,000.00|
|Rule Of 51 Under Projected Cap||$20,425,694.66