Roethlisberger, McDonald Contract Restructure Details Now Known

The Pittsburgh Steelers recently restructured the contracts of six players and two of them were quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and tight end Vance McDonald. Both of them, however, did not get max restructures and in the case of McDonald, his altered deal results in his earnings being decreased for 2020.

In the case of Roethlisberger, while his restructure wasn’t a full one, it was close to one. According to Joel Corry of CBS Sports, the Steelers converted the $12.5 million roster bonus Roethlisberger was due this week along with $7 million of his scheduled $8.5 million base salary into a signing bonus. His base salary for 2020 is now scheduled to be $1.5 million and the restructure cleared $9.75 million in cap space for this season.

Had the Steelers done a max contract restructure on Roethlisberger it would have cleared $9.975 million in 2020 salary cap space being created. Not a huge difference, but a difference, nonetheless.

As for McDonald, he was scheduled to earn $6.4 million in 2020 with $5.5 million of that being base salary and another $900,000 in roster and workout bonuses. He had a unique conversion that included a small reduction, according to Over the Cap and Ian Whetstone on Twitter. He was given a $4 million signing bonus and his base salary was then dropped down to $1.1 million, The $750,000 roster bonus and the $150,000 workout bonuses McDonald was previously scheduled to earn in 2020 and 2021 have also gone away as part of the deal.

McDonald’s recent contract altering now results in him having a 2020 salary cap charge of $3,827,500. It was previously scheduled to be $7,127,500. In short, the contract altering cleared $3.3 million in 2020 salary cap space. Had McDonald’s contract been left alone, and a full restructure been performed on it, the Steelers would have cleared just $2.3 million in 2020 salary cap space.

So, why did McDonald choose to accept this? For starters, he’s missed several games due to injury since the Steelers acquired him via a trade a few years ago. Additionally, his option for 2020 was due to be picked up just prior to the start of the league year so the team had a little bargaining power with him. On top of that, the $4 million that McDonald got in the form of the signing bonus is guaranteed money. His previous $6.4 million he was scheduled to possibly earn in 2020 was not guaranteed at all. In short, McDonald gave up a possible $6.4 million in 2020 for $4 million guaranteed and barring something unforeseen, he’ll also get that $1.1 million base salary in 2020 as well for a total of $5.1 million this season.

So, where are the Steelers right now salary cap-wise after all these correct restructure figures. Assuming the contract of center Maurkice Pouncey was a full restructure, the Steelers should now be roughly $11 million under the cap and below is a line-by-line look at that projection as Thursday comes to a close.

Projected Steelers 2020 Salaty Cap Space (3/18/2020)
Contracts 63
NFL Salary Cap $198,200,000
Team Carryover $3,081,389
Team Adjustment $92,235
Effective Cap $201,373,624
OTA Workout Debt $676,800
Top 51 Rule Contracts $180,873,721
Practice Squad $0
Injured Reserve $0
Dead Money $8,991,462
Estimated Cap Space $10,831,641
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