The Pittsburgh Steelers signed cornerbnack Joe Haden to a three-year, $27 million contract last August and the former first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns went on to have a nondescript season that was mainly highlighted by him missing five regular season games with a fractured fibula. With the start of the 2018 NFL league year now less than four weeks away, at least one major media reporter seems to think Haden might not be retained by the Steelers if he doesn’t accept some sort of pay cut.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports on Friday, while the Steelers do reportedly “love” Haden, sources have reportedly indicated that they can’t retain him at his 2018 scheduled base salary of $9 million. La Canfora goes on to speculate that the Steelers will try to retain Haden at a lower number.
Sometimes I really think La Canfora sits around idly making this stuff up. For starters, don’t count on Haden taking a pay cut this offseason as he knows he still has a decent open market value should the Steelers ultimately release him in the coming weeks and before paying him the $1 million roster bonus he is due in March.
If the Steelers want to lower Haden’s currently scheduled $11,916,666 salary cap charge for 2018 they’ll need to either restructure his current contract, or ink him to a short extension. Personally, I don’t think the latter is going to happen. A full restructure, however, would clear $4,542,500 in 2018 salary cap space, but at the same time, increase the potential of 2019 dead money by that same amount.
Personally, I don’t see the Steelers parting ways with Haden in the next few weeks and if a restructure is to happen, it will likely take place in the next two weeks.
So, what else did La Canfora have to say about the Steelers?
“William Gay is also gone from that secondary I’m told, while Mike Mitchell will be a tough call too, as he could save them $6 million in cap space,” wrote La Canfora on Friday.
While cornerback William Gay and safety Mike Mitchell are obvious potential roster casualties in the coming weeks, the Steelers will only save $5 million in salary cap space prior to roster displacemet by cutting the latter, not $6 million like La Canfora states. Additionally, cutting Gay only saves the Steelers $1.75 million in salary cap space prior to him being displaced in the top 51. Why not keep Gay around a little longer in case of an offseason emergency? He can still be cut at a later date.
And now for the final gem from La Canfora.
“Tight end Vance McDonald didn’t do much after being acquired and he’d save over $4 million against the cap if let go as expected,” reports La Canfora.
Personally, I will be shocked if the Steelers cut tight end Vance McDonald in the coming weeks even though he didn’t put up the expected stats last season and missed several games due to injuries. If McDonald is still on the Steelers roster on April 1, all $3.7 million of his 2018 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. In short, if the Steelers are going to cut McDonald, such a move would likely happen before the start of the new league year, which is now less than a month away.
It will be interesting to see how many of these nuggets from La Canfora come to fruition. Personally, I think he’s wrong about Haden and McDonald and I also won’t be surprised one bit if both Mitchell and Gay are still on the roster a month from now.