David DeCastro Contract Projection

At some point during the offseason the Pittsburgh Steelers will sign guard David DeCastro to a long-term extension. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. The only real unknowns at this point when it comes to a long-term deal for him is whether or not it will be a four or five-year extension and how much guarantee money will be doled out in year-one.

In case you need refresher, the Steelers picked up the fifth-year option on DeCastro last offseason and that $8.070 million will become fully guaranteed at the start of the new league year in March. In picking up that option year, the Steelers have essentially told DeCastro and his agent that the former first-round draft pick is worth that amount or more per season. In other words, you can expect the new money given to DeCastro as part of an extension to average out more than $8 million and less than $9 million a year based on what the other top guards in the league are currently earning.

In the example contract below, I have the Steelers signing DeCastro to a five-year extension that will keep him under contract through the 2021 season. While the total value of the new example contract is $50 million, the new money comes in at just under $42 million which works out to be an average of $8.386 million.

Now that we have an estimated total value, we can start determining the structure of the extension in addition to how much of the deal will be guaranteed. In my example, I have DeCastro receiving a $10 million signing bonus, a first-year base salary of $1 million and a first-year roster bonus of $2 million. In other words, DeCastro would receive $13 million guaranteed. Now, that guaranteed amount might be a little low, but if it comes in higher than that, it won’t be much higher. In fact, I can see him receiving a signing bonus as high as $12 million.

In the second and third years of DeCastro’s new deal, I have included roster bonuses in the amounts of $4 and $2 million respectively as this is usually how the Steelers like to structure these long-term deals. Each of the roster bonuses would be due come the start of each new league year.

By the end of the third year in my example below, DeCastro will have pocketed $25.5 million and that results in a three-year average of $8.5 million.

As you can see by the way a structured the contract, DeCastro’s cap charge in 2016 would be $5 million, which in turn would save the Steelers just over $3 million in cap space being as he is currently scheduled to count $8.07 million next season. Also, for the life of the contract, barring any restructures, he would never count more than $10 million against the team’s salary cap in any one year.

While my example below is sure not to be exact, it should be very close. Additionally, it will be interesting to see whether or not the Steelers get an extension worked out with DeCastro prior to the Cincinnati Bengals getting one done with guard Kevin Zeitler, who is currently in the same boat being as his fifth-year was picked up last offseason as well.

Being as the Steelers signed defensive end Cameron Heyward to a long-term extension last July, I would expect DeCastro’s new deal to be consummated just prior to the team reporting to training camp later on in the Summer.

David DeCastro Contract Projection

Year Base Salary Bonus Proration Roster Bonus Cap Charge
2016 $1,000,000 $2,000,000 $2,000,000 $5,000,000
2017 $3,000,000 $2,000,000 $4,000,000 $9,000,000
2018 $3,500,000 $2,000,000 $2,000,000 $7,500,000
2019 $8,000,000 $2,000,000 $0 $10,000,000
2020 $7,000,000 $2,000,000 $0 $9,000,000
2021 $9,500,000 $0 $0 $9,500,000
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