When it comes to the offseason, Pittsburgh Steelers fans find themselves in a familiar place, wondering what the team will do with respect to the salary cap not just to get into compliance, but to create some spending money.
As a team with perennial Super Bowl aspirations, the Steelers more than most often spend almost right up to their salary cap limit in an attempt to have the best available talent possible, which should hypothetically afford themselves their best chance to win the Super Bowl.
Pittsburgh had an uncharacteristically large amount of salary cap space heading into the 2017 offseason, and that money really seemed to be burning a hole in their pocket, which they attempted to throw at Dont’a Hightower. When they didn’t work out, they waited until August and used that money to acquire Vance McDonald and J.J. Wilcox via trade. It also enabled them to quickly make a move in signing Joe Haden when he was let loose.
Those late expenditures, however, did advance their 2018 salary cap hit, and have put them back in their familiar position of being unable to do much without making significant maneuvers. They have already restructured the contracts of Stephon Tuitt and David DeCastro, and, reportedly, are likely to release Mike Mitchell, in addition to Wilcox.
General Manager Kevin Colbert spoke to reporters yesterday about a diversity of issues, and among the topics touched upon was the team’s salary cap situation—understandable, given their stated intention to re-sign Le’Veon Bell. Their current cap space may not even be sufficient to accommodate his year-one hit, and is only about half of what would be needed to fit the franchise tender.
So it wasn’t particularly a shock when Colbert acknowledged that further restructured contract would be an option on the table. As Ed Bouchette quoted him as saying, “we won’t close the door on having to make further moves”, regarding restructures. “That’s always a possibility when you’re trying to get your team better and under the cap situation”.
As we have previously lined out, some obvious potential candidates for restructured contracts would be Antonio Brown, Alejandro Villanueva, and Cameron Heyward. Brown, Tuitt, and DeCastro are three of the four players whose contracts run through the 2021 season, at least, so they would offer the greatest ability to spread the cap hit over a period of years. Heyward and Villanueva both run through 2020.
Another option that has already been spoken of by President Art Rooney II is an extension for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is now indirectly on the record as saying that he would like to play beyond his current contract, which has two years left on it.