The Pittsburgh Steelers have already eliminated or restructured the contracts of 10 players this offseason, all in an effort to create salary cap room. They released Anthony Chickillo, Mark Barron, and Johnny Holton, while Ramon Foster retired; they also restructured the contracts of Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, Vance McDonald, Steven Nelson, Joe Haden, and Chris Boswell.
These moves gave the team enough room to place the franchise tag on Bud Dupree, retain Mike Hilton, Matt Feiler, Zach Banner, and Kameron Canaday, and sign Derek Watt as an unrestricted free agent, and they still have additional cap room.
One additional move that is anticipated soon is a contract extension for Cameron Heyward, an action that Gerry Dulac wrote about two days ago for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after having spoken with team president Art Rooney II, who said there were still a couple of moves left. They restructured Pouncey’s deal after he said that.
“One of the ways the Steelers could do that is by signing defensive end Cam Heyward to a contract extension that would lessen his cap hit of $13,251,250 in 2020”, Dulac wrote, adding, “but any deal with Heyward is not expected to come until after Wednesday”.
Later, yesterday during a chat session, he was asked by one user when we can expect to see an extension done for Heyward. He responded, “soon”.
Ordinarily, the Steelers wait until the summer to get contract extensions done for players other than quarterbacks, but there are occasional exceptions for ‘special’ players and special circumstances. Pouncey was extended in March last year. I believe Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller were both spring extensions in the early 10s as well.
Of Heyward’s cap hit of $13,251,250, about a quarter of it is from a prorated signing bonus totaling $3,751,250. That is not from his original $12 million signing bonus, since 2020 was the sixth year of his deal and thus was beyond the five-year limit of spreading the cap hit out. Instead, that number comes from previous restructures in 2017 and 2018.
The rest of his cap hit is his base salary of $9.5 million. The Steelers could convert over $8 million of that salary into a signing bonus as part of a new extension in an effort to lower his 2020 cap hit.