The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Which veteran players will be salary cap casualties by the time the new league year starts?
The way things are currently trending, it appears as though we should know in a matter of days whether or not there will be a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place by the time the new league year is scheduled to begin on March 18.
Whether or not there is a new CBA could very well influence how many players the Steelers have to release, because it will determine how much cap space they would be able to create by restructuring contracts, which has been their go-to means of doing so.
The candidates being bandied about for release are: Anthony Chickillo; Mark Barron; Ramon Foster; Vance McDonald. To a lesser and less logical extent, Vince Williams’ name has also come up, even though the team would only save less than half a million by releasing him, after displacement. Even Daniel McCullers would provide more cap relief, with a $1.5 million base salary.
Chickillo’s release would shave off $5 million. Barron would bring $5.25 million. Foster, $4 million. McDonald, $5.6725 million. All of these numbers are before roster displacement, which as it currently stands would deduct $510,000 from the total of each.
Releasing all four of these players, after displacement, would create a total of $17,882,500 million in salary cap space for the team in 2020, the vast majority of which would be absorbed by a Bud Dupree franchise tag. They also have to re-sign Mike Hilton, Matt Feiler, and Zach Banner by then, who are all restricted free agents, or else they would become unrestricted agents.