Early this morning I passed along the news that the Pittsburgh Steelers restructured the contract of tackle Marcus Gilbert and in the process they cleared $2,392,500 in salary cap space. Since that restructure surfaced, I see several people, mainly on Twitter, assume that this move has something to do with a possible forthcoming contract extension for guard David DeCastro.
While a new deal for DeCastro could certainly be forthcoming, it’s important to remember that if a deal is ultimately consummated that it will result in the guard’s current salary cap charge in 2016 decreasing, not increasing. Currently his cap charge in 2016 is set to be $8.07 million as a result of his fifth-year option being picked up by the Steelers well over a year ago.
So why restructure Gilbert’s contract?
For starters, the Steelers ended Wednesday with $2,779,333 in available salary cap space, according to the NFLPA website. Additionally, you have to keep in mind that some of that available cap space is essentially already spoken for as the team still needs to account for a 52nd and 53rd player on their final roster in addition to a 10-man practice squad. Additionally, due to linebacker Vince Williams signing a new contract on Tuesday, his scheduled cap charge of $694,670 will ultimately increase. By how much? I don’t know just yet, but probably by at least a million and maybe even a little more depending on what the signing bonus he received turns out to be. We’ll know exactly what his new contract looks like very soon.
Here is one other thing to consider. The Steelers still might be planning to give wide receiver Antonio Brown some of his 2017 money in the coming weeks and as I have written previously, there are several ways they can go about doing that. One of the several options I presented included the Steelers giving Brown $7.81 million of his 2017 base salary as part of a restructure and in doing so the wide receiver would essential earn $14.06 million in 2016. Please keep in mind, however, that that’s an extreme restructure, but plausible nonetheless, at least on paper.
Now, by taking that extreme route of giving Brown $14.06 million in 2016 as I presented in my example, his 2016 cap charge would increase by $1.23 million and if we were to assume that Williams’ 2016 cap charge will be increasing by at least a million as part of his new contract, you get a total of $2.23 million in cap increases, which would then use up most of the $2,392,500 salary cap space the Steelers freed up by restructuring the contract of Gilbert. If Williams’ signing bonus is more than a million you can adjust accordingly.
There of course could be a few other reasons as to why the Steelers decided they needed another $2,392,500 in salary cap space as that would be a near-sufficient amount to have for in-season injuries should an extension not get done with DeCastro in the coming weeks.
So in summation, while an extension could still be forthcoming for DeCastro, you can probably rest assured that Gilbert’s recent restructure has nothing to do with it.