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Estimated Steelers Draft Class Rookie Pool And Needed Cap Space To Accommodate

As of Sunday morning, the Pittsburgh Steelers are estimated to have 67 players under or agreed to contracts and that includes the recent acquiring of defensive lineman Chris Wormley via a trade and the Friday signings of tight end Eric Ebron and safety Jordan Dangerfield. While we wait for the details of the contracts signed by both Ebron and Dangerfield, my best estimation of those two deals now has the Steelers roughly $5.2 million under the cap. While that’s not a lot of money, the Steelers now only need roughly $932,000 in salary cap space to sign their currently scheduled six-player draft class.

Why is that number needed to sign the 2020 draft class so low? For starters, roster displacement in the Rule of 51 handles most of the cost and I’ll explain that more in depth below. Additionally, the Steelers not having a first-round draft pick this year also keeps the Steelers 2020 rookie pool total low.

At the bottom of the table below are the projected contracts for the Steelers six draft picks, according to what Over the Cap has. While these draft pick contract numbers aren’t likely to be exact, they’ll be close when the dust settles. While the cap charges of those players total out at 4,851,733, that’s not the cap space the Steelers will need to sign all of them thanks to top 51 roster displacement.

To best explain how the top 51 roster displacement works, below are the six players that currently make up the bottom six top 51 cap charges for the Steelers. The top four draft picks the Steelers currently have would all enter the Rule of 51 if signed right now. In short, those four draft pick charges that total $3,566,778 would displace the four lowest cap charges of the six players that currently comprise the Rule of 51, which totals out at $2,700,000. The difference of those two amounts is $866,778.

While the estimated cap charges of the Steelers last two scheduled picks aren’t large enough to crack the current Rule of 51, the prorated signing bonus amounts must still be accounted for in the cap. In short, the sum of those two amounts is $64,955, and when added to $866,778, gives a total of $931,733.

The Steelers will also need to accommodate the signing bonuses of this year’s undrafted rookie class. Even so, that amount isn’t likely to be much more than $110,000 as the undrafted rookie reservation pool amount won’t be much more than that.

ROOKIE POOL DISPLACEMENT EXERCISE
BOTTOM SIX PLAYERS IN RULE OF 51 AS OF 3/22/2020
PLAYER BASE SALARY BONUS PRORATION ROSTER BONUS CAP CHARGE
Ulysees Gilbert III $675,000 $31,958 $0 $706,958
Deon Cain $675,000 $0 $0 $675,000
Devlin Hodges $675,000 $0 $0 $675,000
Kerrith Whyte Jr. $675,000 $0 $0 $675,000
Marcus Allen $675,000 $0 $0 $675,000
Quadree Henderson $675,000 $0 $0 $675,000
2020 SIX DRAFT PICKS AS OF 3/22/2020
PICK BASE SALARY BONUS PRORATION ROSTER BONUS CAP CHARGE
Round 2 -pick 17 49th overall $610,000 $582,872 $0 $1,192,872
Round 3-pick 38 102nd overall (compensatory) $610,000 $204,509 $0 $814,509
Round 4-pick 18 124th overall $610,000 $177,516 $0 $787,516
Round 4-pick 29 135th overall (from Titans, through Dolphins) $610,000 $161,881 $0 $771,881
Round 6-pick 19 198th overall $610,000 $41,979 $0 $651,979
Round 7-pick 18 232nd overall $610,000 $22,976 $0 $632,976
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