The 2021 NFL league year will get underway two months from now and by then the Pittsburgh Steelers will need to be salary cap compliant. While we still don’t know what the 2021 NFL salary cap number will be, and probably won’t know for at least six more weeks, you can go ahead and count on the Steelers restructuring at least one contract in the next 60 days and possibly even two or three of them.
For starters, I can almost guarantee you that Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward will have his contract restructured within the next 60 days to free up much-needed salary cap space for the team. Such a restructure I predicted would happen right after Heyward signed his four-year contract extension with the Steelers on September 7th, 2020. As stated ahead of the 2020 season getting underway, such a full contract restructure on Heyward this offseason would also free up $7,068,750 in 2021 salary cap space for the Steelers.
To provide full clarity, Heyward will have his entire $6 million roster bonus he’s due on March 20, along with all but $1.075 million of the $4.5 million base salary he’s due in 2020, turned into a signing bonus prior to the start of the new league on March 17. Turning that money into a signing bonus will allow for $9.425 million that Heyward is due in 2021 to be spread out over the final four years of Heyward’s contract. It will cause Heyward’s cap charges in 2022, 2023 and 2024 to all increase by $2,356,250 and his 2021 cap charge to decrease by $7,068,750.
Below is a look at what Heyward’s contract will look like after a full restructure is completed in the next several weeks.
In addition to Heyward being guaranteed to have his contract restructured before the start of the 2021 NFL league year in March, look for Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt to have his contract restructured as well prior to March 17.
To provide full clarity once again, look for Tuitt, who is under contract through the 2022 season, to have all but $1.075 million of the $9 million base salary he’s due in 2021 to be turned into a signing bonus. Such a full restructure of Tuitt’s contract would result in his 2022 cap charge increasing by $3,962,500 and his 2021 cap charge decreasing by that exact amount.
Below is a look at what Tuitt’s contract will look like after a full restructure is completed in the next several weeks.
In summation, full contract restructures done on Heyward and Tuitt would result in the Steelers clearing $11,031,250 in 2021 salary cap space.
Other than Heyward and Tuitt, the Steelers really don’t have any other prime contract restructure candidates this offseason. In fact, kicker Chris Boswell is the only other player under contract beyond 2021 that the Steelers could restructure and save more than $1 million in 2021 salary cap space. A full restructure of Boswell’s current contract would result in just $1,047,500 2021 salary cap space being created. Depending on how pinched the Steelers are will determine if Boswell joins Heyward and Tuitt on the offseason restructure to-do list.