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Steelers 2016 Salary Cap: Safety Contracts & Soon-To-Be Free Agents

It’s time to move forward with our position by position look at the Pittsburgh Steelers salary cap situation for 2016 being as the team as starting to wind down their 2015 season. We’ve already looked at the several position groups in this series and today we’ll turn our attention to the safety position.

If you missed my previous posts in this series, you can find the links to them below this article.

Players Under Contract For 2016:

Mike Mitchell – Mitchell has had a fantastic 2015 season and he’s sure to have career-highs in tackles after struggling in 2014 with a groin injury. He’s set to earn a $5 million base salary and his cap charge is scheduled to be $6,763,750. Mitchell is still on the right side of 30 as well and there’s currently no reason to think that he won’t play out his contract that runs through the 2018 season. Should the Steelers wind up drafting a safety in 2016, it will likely be one that is more slanted to play the strong safety spot. As it stands right now, the Steelers got a real bargain in Mitchell based on the salaries of other safeties in the league.

Shamarko Thomas – Thomas has been a huge disappointment for the Steelers since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Syracuse. He’s played all of 21 snaps on defense in the last two seasons and failed to win the starting strong safety spot this year in training camp. While Thomas is a big hitter with a ton of athletic ability, he struggles with the above-the-neck portion of his game. That has also shown up this season on special teams where while he has registered 7 total tackles in 2015 he also incurred 2 Fair Catch Interference penalties. Thomas is scheduled to earn $675,000 in 2016 with a cap charge of $788,288. In other words, he’ll be back in Latrobe in 2016 competing for a roster spot at a position where there is not a lot of depth.

Players Scheduled To Be Free Agents In 2016:

Will Allen – If not for head coach Mike Tomlin, Allen would more than likely be out of the league by now. The veteran safety has started all 11 games that he’s dressed for this season but did miss three games with an ankle injury. Curiously enough, Allen has recorded 3 sacks this season and those are the only 3 of his long career. While he still sees some action on special teams, he only has one tackle this year in 64 snaps while covering kickoffs. Allen will again be an unrestricted free agent during the offseason and you have to think he won’t draw any interest from other teams. Being as he will turn 34 prior to the start of the 2016 season, you would have to think that his long career will finally come to an end this year. Allen earned $970,000 in 2015 with a discounted cap charge of $665,000.

Robert Golden – Golden was tendered as a restricted free agent during the offseason and that earned him $1.52 million in 2016. When Allen missed time with his ankle injury, Golden filled in admirably and so far this season he’s played 350 defensive snaps on his way to registering 4 defensed passes and his first career interception to go along with 29 defensive tackles. Golden also served as the Steelers special teams captain again this season and so far he has 2 combined tackles while covering both kickoffs and punts. Due to the lack of depth at the safety position, the Steelers will more than likely look to re-sign Golden to a two or three-year contract early on in the offseason with eyes on him potentially being the starter alongside Mitchell in 2016. That deal shouldn’t require too much guaranteed money.

Jordan Dangerfield – Dangerfield has spent the entire 2015 season on the Steelers practice squad and because of that, one would think that he might be signed to another futures contract once the year ends. While Dangerfield is a hard-hitter who appears to have a knack for playing special teams, it’s hard to imagine him ever being a starting safety in the league at this point.

Steelers 2016 Salary Cap: Quarterback Contracts & Soon-To-Be Free Agents
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Steelers 2016 Salary Cap: Tight End Contracts & Soon-To-Be Free Agents

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