I hate to be the balloon-popper on this Thursday and while it’s not shocking news to most of us, Jason La Canfora is reporting Thursday morning that the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t pursuing free agent cornerback Josh Norman.
While it was reported Wednesday evening that the Steelers were one of several teams who immediately called about Norman after the Carolina Panthers rescinded their franchise tag on the cornerback, that phone conversation was probably very short if it indeed even took place.
Had the Steelers even been a bit serious about signing Norman, who is reportedly looking to get paid around $16 million a season, they would have needed to create some salary cap space in order to accommodate the former fifth-round draft pick as they currently only have $3,574,520 at their disposal following the release of cornerback Cortez Allen on Friday.
While the Steelers could create more cap room by immediately restructuring the contract of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it’s obvious that the organization is doing their best to not go that route. Additionally, while contract extensions for guard David DeCastro and linebacker Lawrence Timmons would also clear some additional salary cap space, such transactions aren’t expected to take place until later on in the summer.
In case you’re curious, the least I can see Norman’s first-year cap hit being on a new five-year deal with $16 million being given to him at signing would be $4 million. Such a deal, however, would have to average around $13 million a season and thus include Norman being paid $39 million over the course of the first three years of the contract. That is a low-ball contract, mind you. Remember, he’s going to be 29 in December so this is likely his last shot at getting paid big money.
The Steelers calling about Norman is just the organization doing their due diligence and nothing more. They did the same think with cornerback Darrelle Revis a few years ago and I suspect that phone call was a very short one as well.