In a recent post by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, he reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers currently rank last in the league when in it comes to guaranteed money given to players they have signed so far this offseason. Is this surprising? Not one bit and especially because of a few main factors.
For starters, we are going to assume that Fowler is only talking about signing bonus money given to players as that’s what his low number of $14,734,505 suggest. Being as the Steelers are never really big players when it comes to signing outside free agents, and combined with the fact that they have a long history of re-signing their own free agents to team-friendly contracts, you can easily understand why that number is currently so low as we sit here in June.
This offseason, the Steelers signed outside free agents Ladarius Green, Ryan Harris, Steven Johnson, Ricardo Mathews and David Johnson and combined those five players received $5.45 million in guaranteed signing bonus money.
The Steelers also managed to re-sign Ramon Foster, William Gay, Robert Golden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Bruce Gradkowski and Greg Warren this offseason and combined, those six players received $6.46 million in guaranteed signing bonus money.
The rest of the Steelers guaranteed signing bonus money paid out so far this offseason went to the teams’ seven draft picks and original 10 undrafted free agents. Combined, the Steelers paid those 17 players $7,866,064 in guaranteed signing bonus money.
Now, it’s also worth pointing out that the Steelers have managed to navigate through the offseason without having to restructure any contracts. Restructures generally include players receiving large portions of their scheduled base salaries as a guaranteed signing bonus so that the team can prorate the restructured amount out over the remaining life of the contract. This is the first time in quite a while that the Steelers haven’t done at least one contract restructure and they really need to be commended for that.
Now, the Steelers guaranteed money doled out for 2016 is sure to grow larger by the start of the regular season as guard David DeCastro is sure to get signed to an extension. He very well could wind up receiving a signing bonus of around $10 million or more. Additionally, running back Le’Veon Bell might also receive a new contract later on in the summer and like DeCastro, he could receive a signing bonus of around $10 million.
In case you are scoring at home, below is a full list of the signing bonus amounts that the Steelers have given out so far this offfseason. To put this total number into better perspective, the Steelers gave Ben Roethlisberger a $31 million signing bonus last year during the offseason.