Last weekend I provided you a full update on the current salary cap status of the Pittsburgh Steelers after they had concluded signing all of this year’s draft picks. With that piece of business now out of the way, we can now start peeking ahead to what the team’s salary cap picture in 2017 already looks like ahead of more extensions taking place in the coming months.
For starters, the Steelers have 43 players currently under contract for the 2017 season and the combined salary cap charges for those players is $115,482,961, according to my record-keeping. When you consider that many analysts already believe that the NFL salary cap will increase at least another 8% in 2017, the Steelers can currently be calculated as being roughly $52.2 million under next year’s projected salary cap number.
Now, the Steelers will of course need to ultimately have 53 players on their final 2017 roster so we’ll have to project 10 more players for our look-ahead estimate. Let’s start by adding David DeCastro, Le’Veon Bell and Lawrence Timmons under the assumption that all three will have their contracts extended between now and the start of the 2016 regular season. In order to provide us a nice buffer and be on the safe side, let’s assume the salary cap charge for each of those three players in 2017 will be $9 million.
Now that we have those three players extended and on next year’s roster, let’s plan on the Steelers 2017 draft class including 7 players with the cap charges of all of them totaling $6.5 million. Once again, that’s shooting a tad high just as a buffer.
As you can see, by extending those three players and adding a full draft class, I now have the Steelers roster at 53 players and totaling nearly $149 million in salary cap charges. Should the 2017 NFL salary cap indeed wind up being at least $167 million, the team would be roughly $18 million under the cap under my projected scenario. Keep in mind that these numbers also don’t take into account any salary cap money left over from 2016 that the team can choose to rollover. Additionally, note that Shaun Suisham and his $2.4 million base salary sticks out like a sore thumb on the list below.
Now, there will be elephants in the room that will need to be addressed next offseason and the two biggest ones will be Antonio Brown and Stephon Tuitt as both will be entering their final contract years. Even so, the Steelers will certainly be able to afford long-term extensions for both of those players in addition to being able to re-sign whichever of their own unrestricted free agents that they deem worthy.
Perhaps one of the easiest things to project right now about next offseason is the fact that the Steelers shouldn’t have to restructure any contracts. They’ve yet to do so this offseason and that’s good news.
As you should be able to clearly see, while many of the names below are sure to change come this same time next year, the Steelers should be in excellent shape salary cap-wise. I will provide you another full look ahead come the start of the 2016 regular season as we’ll know by then which players have been extended and which players have been sent down the road.
In addition to showing the Steelers players currently under contract for the 2017 season, I am also including the current list of notable Steelers players who are set to become free agents after the 2016 season that the team might seriously consider re-signing prior to the start of the new league year in March.
|PLAYER||BASE SALARY||CAP CHARGE|
|TOTAL UNDER CONTRACT||$80,648,845||$115,482,961|
Notable 2017 Steelers Free Agents