Steelers Salary Cap Implications From Marcus Gilbert Suspension

Earlier this week, Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert was suspended for four games for violating the leagues PED usage policy and because of that, the seven-year veteran will lose some money and the team will gain some salary cap space not only this year, but in 2018 and 2019 as well.

Gilbert’s current contract called for him to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2017 and his four-game suspension means he’ll lose those weekly checks totaling $941,176. In case you’re curious, Wednesday morning the NFLPA credited the Steelers $941,176 in salary cap space on their public report. In all likelihood, that additionally salary cap space, along with whatever else goes unused this season, will eventually be rolled over into 2018 by the Steelers after the 2017 season ends.

As a result of Gilbert’s suspension being PED-related the Steelers are required to recover a four-game portion of the tackle’s bonuses he’s received, per the NFL’s Policy And Program On Substances Of Abuse.

Players who are suspended pursuant to this Policy shall be required to forfeit any applicable bonus amounts in accordance with Article 4, Section 9 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Parties acknowledge the inapplicability of “facial invalidity” claims on forfeitures based on violations of this Policy.

According to that policy and the NFL’s CBA, and judging by Gilbert’s newest contract’s signing bonus and since-written contract restructures, it appears as though he stands to have to repay the Steelers as much as $766,706, which is 4/17ths of his 2017 bonus proration amount of $3,258,500.

So, when will the Steelers receive salary cap credit for the repaid prorated bonus amounts? According to former NFL agent Joel Corry, the salary cap credit will come when the bonus money is actually collected from Gilbert or deducted from his future salary payments. In summation that credit isn’t likely to hit the Steelers books until sometime during the offseason at the earliest.

In total, Gilbert stands to lose as much as 1,707,882 as a result of him testing positive recently for a banned substance.

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