Over the course of the last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had two separate hits to their salary cap and as a result they now have less than $3 million in available space.
As of Saturday morning, the NFLPA shows the Steelers as having $2,648,921 in available salary cap space. The first of two adjustments that took place this past week was for $1.25 million and that appears to be a veteran cap payback payment from borrowed money a few years ago. In previous salary cap updates, I indicated that this could possibly happen but didn’t know how much it would be or when it would hit the books.
On Friday, the Steelers were given another salary cap adjustment in the amount of $391,560 and that appears to be their annual charges for player offseason workouts. Here is what the CBA says about that:
Each player shall receive at least the following amounts per day for any workouts or classroom instruction in which he participates pursuant to a Club’s voluntary offseason workout program, provided the player fulfills the Club’s reasonable offseason workout requirements: $155 (2011–12 League Years), $175 (2013–14 League Years), $195 (2015–16 League Years), $215 (2017–18 League Years), and $235 (2019–20 League Years), respectively. Players are required to complete three out of four scheduled workouts, including any scheduled OTAs, per week in order to be paid for any workout the player completes in that week, except that if there are less than four (4) scheduled workouts in a week the player will be paid for each workout in which he participates. A player can only be paid for offseason workouts pursuant to the terms of an executed offseason workout addendum, which shall be part of the player’s NFL Player Contract.
It is now important to remember that while the Steelers currently have a little more than $2.6 million in available salary cap space that they still have to accommodate two more roster spots as right now they are working off of the offseason Rule of 51. Additionally, a 10-man practice squad needs to be established. On the high side, that will likely require roughly another $2 million in salary cap space. Additionally, it’s important to remember that the team generally likes to enter a regular season with around $3 million in available salary cap space in case they need it for in-season injury replacements. With that in mind, they’ll probably need to create some cap space in the coming weeks.
As I have previously written, a new contract for guard David DeCastro figures to result in his current salary cap charge of $8.07 million being lowered by several million. Will that be enough for the Steelers? Perhaps.
It was reported a few days ago that linebacker Lawrence Timmons, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Markus Wheaton aren’t expected to receive contract extensions between now and the start of the regular season. Timmons has the highest current charge of that group at $15,131,250 with $6,381,250 of it being related to bonus proration. His cap charges this year can obviously be lowered via an extension, but the team might just decide to let him finish out his final year with the hopes they can re-sign him during the offseason prior to the start of the 2017 league year.
Being as Bell is currently scheduled to have a cap charge in 2016 of $1,311,100 pending the outcome of his appeal, a new contract for him would undoubtedly result in that number increasing by quite a bit. In other words, as the recent report stated, it’s not looking like he’ll get an extension.
As for Wheaton, it’s been a forgone conclusion that he’ll be allowed to play out the final year of his current contract.
When it comes to wide receiver Antonio Brown possibly getting more money in 2016, it sure doesn’t sound like he’s going to get an extension. He could, however, wind up being fronted some of his 2017 money in the coming weeks and depending on what that amount is, his 2016 cap charge could go up some as a result.
While the team could free up a little bit of salary cap space by restructuring the contracts of either safety Mike Mitchell, center Maurkice Pouncey, or defensive end Cameron Heyward, it doesn’t appear as though the Steelers really plan on going that route. Should they ultimately need to free up some cap space via a restructure, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the likeliest candidate on paper as we sit here in early August.