Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have selected seven players in the 2018 NFL Draft and agreed to terms with 13 undrafted free agents, the next step for the organization is to sign all 20 of those players to contracts and perhaps even a few more that will tryout during the upcoming rookie minicamp. In the meantime, however, the Steelers acquired some additional salary cap space thanks to a few transactions that took place since last week.
As I previously posted, the Steelers entered the 2018 NFL Draft with $1,991,880 in available salary cap space, according to the NFLPA. However, upon trading wide receiver Martavis Bryant to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, that cleared an additional $1.352 million in 2018 salary cap space after roster displacement and resulted in the team having $3,343,880 available to them.
On Monday, the NFLPA debited the Steelers $4,300 in salary cap space for a yet-to-be-determined reason. It might be injury settlement related, but I’m not really sure and neither is former NFL agent Joel Corry.
Also on Monday, the Steelers, as expected, released safety J.J. Wilcox, who was set to earn a base salary of $3.125 million in 2018 and carry a salary cap charge of $3.8 million. While the Steelers will incur a dead money charge in 2018 of $675,000 due to them parting ways with Wilcox, they will save $2.57 million in actual salary cap space following his immediate displacement in the team’s top 51 salaries.
That $2.57 million in salary cap savings resulting from the release of Wilcox now results in the Steelers having $5,909,580 in available salary cap space, pending the signing of their draft class and undrafted free agents.
While that $5,909,580 in available salary cap space might seem like a sizable sum, keep in mind that the Steelers generally like to have roughly $3.5 million in available salary cap space for in-season transactions. Additionally, the signing of the Steelers draft class and undrafted free agents will likely use up just under $2 million in available salary cap space. If that’s not enough, the Steelers will eventually need to be able to accommodate a 52nd and 53rd roster spot in addition to potentially an 11-man practice squad. That’s at least another $1.82 million in salary cap space that will be needed.
At some point during the offseason the Steelers are expected to sign kicker Chris Boswell to a long-term contract extension. The Steelers are also still expected to attempt to sign running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term contract extension prior to the July 16 deadline. The structure of Boswell’s new contract will be interesting should it ultimately get done. With that said, one would think that the Steelers wouldn’t need too much additional salary cap space in 2018, if any, to accommodate it. As for a potential new deal for Bell, should the Steelers shockingly get something done with the running back by July 16, they might actually be able to free up a little salary cap space for 2018 in doing so, depending all on how the deal is structured.