Salary Cap-Strapped Steelers Face Busy Next Few Weeks Now That March Has Arrived

The month of March has finally arrived and that means the start of the NFL new league year is just 17 days away barring the date being pushed back to potentially accommodate a new CBA agreement. After the annual NFL Scouting Combine winds down Sunday evening, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert will return home and face a long laundry list of things to do in the next two weeks as the team remains in the same salary cap shape that they’ve been in since the middle of January.

Below is a quick snapshot of the Steelers current projected salary cap situation and it’s the same as it was when I last provided an update on January 17. That update, which included the team having 63 players under contract and forthcoming offseason workout placeholder charge of $676,800, leaves the team with an estimated salary cap space of $839,352 based on an estimated 2020 salary cap number of $200 million.

Projected Steelers 2020 Salary Cap Space (3/1/20)
Contracts 63
NFL Salary Cap $200,000,000
Team Carryover $3,081,389
Team Adjustment $0
Effective Cap $203,081,369
OTA Workout Debt $676,800
Top 51 Rule Spending $198,996,255
Practice Squad $0
Injured Reserve $0
Dead Money $2,568,962
Estimated Cap Space $839,352

Could the 2020 NFL salary cap number come in a bit higher than $200 million if a new CBA is ratified in the near future? Yes, but according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network a few days ago, it probably won’t be a huge increase over $200 million. Additionally, it’s important to remember that if the current CBA proposal passes that there’s expected to be $100,000 increase in 2020 for rookie minimums and at least a $90,000 increase in 2020 for other minimum salaried players. Those increases will increase team’s total 2020 salary cap amount.

While it might not happen next week, soon thereafter the Steelers will likely make their pre new league year roster cuts and those contract terminations could include guard Ramon Foster, inside linebacker Mark Barron and outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo.

Additionally, Colbert and company will need to decide if they want to keep tight end Vance McDonald on the roster past March 18 as that’s the deadline to pick up his 2020 option, which isn’t guaranteed.

The Steelers will also need to decide if they want to franchise tag outside linebacker Bud Dupree by the March 12 deadline if they can’t get him signed to a new long-term contract in the next week and a half. If that weren’t enough, the Steelers will also need to issue restricted free agent tenders in the next few weeks and those figure to go to cornerback Mike Hilton, tackle Matt Feiler and tackler Zach Banner.

The next two weeks might also include the Steelers doing a few contract restructures and potentially at least one extension as well. A new CBA agreement would likely result in the 30 percent rule going away. That rule going away would allow the Steelers to free up even more salary cap space via contract restructures should they decide they want to go that route.

Additionally, the 30 percent rule going away very soon could result in a contract extension getting done with defensive tackle Cameron Heyward. Such an extension could potentially free up a little more 2020 salary cap space for the team.

Starting Wednesday, we’ll be two weeks away from the scheduled start of the 2020 NFL league year so be prepared for the Steelers to make up quickly for the inactivity they’ve had for the last month and a half. We’ll make sure to pass on all of the details and news to readers just as quickly. It’s going to be an interesting next few weeks when it comes to the Steelers.

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