While the Pittsburgh Steelers have already taken eight significant measures in order to create salary cap space ahead of the start of the new league year, beginning at 4PM today, president Art Rooney II told reporters yesterday that he believes another move or two will be necessary before they get there.
The team got most of its business out of the way early, terminating the contracts of Mark Barron, Anthony Chickillo, and Johnny Holton. Ramon Foster, who announced his retirement, was likely going to be shopped or released.
In addition to the releases, which Rooney said he believes they are done with, they also restructured the contracts of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, cornerbacks Joe Haden and Steven Nelson, tight end Vance McDonald, and kicker Chris Boswell.
“I think we have one or two more things to fall into place”, he told Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, alluding to more restructures on the way. I have previously written about Stephon Tuitt, David DeCastro, and Maurkice Pouncey as being candidates for restructure. “There will be another move or two that we’ll have to talk about in the next 24 hours”.
Tuitt’s contract would be the most desirable to restructure, because his is the only significant deal remaining that has more than two seasons left, which means that the Steelers could spread out a signing bonus into thirds, rather than halves.
If the Steelers wished to do a maximum restructure of Tuitt’s $9 million base salary, they could convert $7,950,000 into a signing bonus, which would be then spread out over three years. That would add $2.65 million to the cap in 2021 and 2022, but would create relief to the tune of $5.3 million this year.
A full restructure of DeCastro’s contract, with a base salary of $8.75 million with two years remaining, would create a 2020 cap savings of $3.85 million, while Pouncey’s hypothetical restructure on a base salary of $8 million would yield a savings of $3.475 million.
The Steelers started the week over the cap after the salary cap came in slightly lower than what was expected. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement also raised the minimum salary, which added additional cap burden.
But the team purged millions upon millions in cap space with the above moves. With those savings, they applied the franchise tag to Bud Dupree, signed fullback Derek Watt, re-signed Zach Banner, applied second-round restricted free agent tenders to Matt Feiler and Mike Hilton, and retained Kameron Canaday.