Immediately after the Pittsburgh Steelers 2016 season came to an end I provided you a projected 2017 salary cap outlook for the team along with several things I expect will happen business-wise over the course of the offseason. That outlook included a few projections in terms of futures contracts and exclusive rights free agents that I knew were soon on the way. Since then, the Steelers have made quite a few transactions and if you missed any of them, you can review them listed in this master post.
The start of the 2017 NFL league year is now a month away as of Thursday and with that date now on the horizon, I will attempt to project what the Steelers 2017 salary cap situation will look like at that time.
As you can see, I have projected 64 players being under contract come March 9. Currently, there are only 58 and I have added Le’Veon Bell (franchise tag), Chris Hubbard (restricted tender), Ross Cockrell (restricted tender), Alejandro Villanueva (exclusive rights tender), Anthony Chickillo (exclusive rights tender) and B.J. Finney (exclusive rights tender) as projected tag or tendered players.
Based on my projections, the Steelers Rule of 51 number is $146,677,578 and when you add on the $2,395,222 in dead money for 2017, you get total debits of $149,072,800. Now, when you rollover the $3,269,368 in unused salary cap space from 2016, the total number is $145,803,432, or $22,196,568 under the currently projected 2017 league salary cap number of $168,000,000. You will see that $22,196,568 in the second to last line in the table below.
As a point of reference, the Steelers 58 players currently under contract along with all dead money and unused salary cap space from 2016 equates to the team being $37,151,568 under a $168 million cap number and you may have seen numbers similar to that currently being floated around the internet. Its important to remember that those numbers you’re likely seeing are current and do not include future tags, tenders and other forthcoming charges.
In summation, I project the Steelers as potentially having $13,442,568 in real 2017 salary cap space come March 9 and please remember that number includes a tag for Bell and restricted tenders for both Hubbard and Cockrell. Now, it would be silly to end our 2017 salary cap projection there as we know several more future charges are forthcoming past March 9. I have projected and line-itemized those future charges in the table below in order to give you a more realistic view of REAL salary cap space. While the projected future charges number of $8.754 million won’t be exact, at least it should be in the ballpark, so to speak.
Now, do not be overly alarmed by that number. For starters, even though Bell is projected to wear the franchise tag at least initially, one can easily speculate that a long-term extension is in his future which in turn should lower his 2017 salary number.
I also want everyone to keep in mind that linebackers James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons are both likely to be re-signed at some point during the next several months and should that ultimately happen, both will eat into available salary cap space. The same could go for running back DeAngelo Williams, who like Harrison and Timmons, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent come March. There’s also a good chance that a few future lower level unrestricted free agents might be re-signed as well, but with that said, none of them will use up large amounts of salary cap space after roster displacement takes place in the top 51.
In addition to Bell receiving an extension, you can probably expect wide receiver Antonio Brown and defensive end Stephon Tuitt to both receive extensions between now and the start of the 2017 regular season. The good news with Brown is that an extension for him shouldn’t require that much additional 2017 salary cap space. That, however, isn’t likely to be the case with Tuitt.
Now, the Steelers certainly have a few candidates to be released during the offseason and leading that list is tight end Ladarius Green. A release of Green prior to June 1 would free up $2.625 in 2017 salary cap space prior to roster displacement. Linebacker Arthur Moats and tackle Ryan Harris are two other players who are on the fringe of being cuttable at some point.
In a few more weeks I will once again update the Steelers 2017 salary cap situation.
|STEELERS 2017 PROJECTED SALARY CAP RECAP|
|PLAYER||BASE SALARY||CAP CHARGE|
|Le’Veon Bell (FRANCHISE TAG)||$12,400,000||$12,400,000|
|Chris Hubbard (RFA)||$1,900,000||$1,900,000|
|Ross Cockrell (RFA)||$1,900,000||$1,900,000|
|Alejandro Villanueva (ERFA)||$615,000||$615,000|
|Anthony Chickillo (ERFA)||$615,000||$615,000|
|B.J. Finney (ERFA)||$540,000||$540,000|
|Projected Top 51 Under Contract||$146,677,578|
|Projected Dead Money Total||$2,395,222|
|ADDITIONAL FUTURE CHARGES||AMOUNT|
|Projected Prorated Rookie Signing Bonus Displacement||$2,000,000|
|Projected Practice Squad Players||$1,224,000|
|Projected Final Cap Loan Repayment||$1,000,000|
|Projected 52nd & 53rd Players||$930,000|
|Projected Workout Bonuses||$600,000|
|Projected Allocated In-Season Space||$3,000,000|
|ADDITIONAL FUTURE CREDITS||AMOUNT|
|2016 SALARY CAP ROLLOVER||$3,269,368|
|2017 SALARY CAP NUMBER||AMOUNT|
|Projected NFL Salary Cap As Of 2/2017||$168,000,000|
|AVAILABLE SALARY CAP SPACE||AMOUNT|
|Projected 2017 Salary Cap Space As Of 3/2017||$22,196,568|
|Projected Expendable 2017 Salary Cap Space As Of 3/2017||$13,442,568|