The Pittsburgh Steelers made a few significant transactions this past week that included the contract termination of guard David DeCastro and the signing of free agent guard Trai Turner. On the heels of those moves this past week, it’s a perfect time to update where the team sits from a salary cap perspective for the 2021 season, especially with several other Steelers blogs posting blatant misinformation these last few days.
For starters, we will assume that Turner’s cap charge for 2021 is $3 million. The official number has not surfaced yet and it might wind up being slightly higher than that. The Steelers are also still waiting to sign rookie center Kendrick Green as of the time of this post.
Let’s start first with what the NFLPA shows on Saturday morning for the Steelers. They now have the Steelers with 90 players under contract for the 2021 season, and the team $6,999,106 under the cap. The amount under and roster count is lagging behind to real-time, however, as the NFL has yet to process the termination of DeCastro and the signing of Turner.
The offset produced by the termination of DeCastro and the signing of Turner is $5.75 million, and that assumes once again that Turner’s 2021 cap charge is exactly $3 million. So, simply adding $5.75 million in additional salary cap space to the $6,999,106 that the team had available prior to the Thursday and Friday transactions, results in the Steelers now being $12,749,106 under the cap, pending the signing of Green.
Below is the latest breakdown of the Steelers’ current and future cap situation. The breakdown includes approximated predictable future costs the team will have prior to the start of the 2021 regular season. The breakdown should be self-explanatory. These predicable costs include the remaining unsigned draft pick, Green.
As the chart shows below, a good portion of the Steelers’ presumed $12,749,106 cap space that they currently have as of Saturday morning is already all spoken for. In fact, you can essentially say that the Steelers are effectively $2,162,604 under the cap right now, based on predicted forthcoming costs the team will have between now and the start of the 2021 regular season.
As noted several times previously, the Steelers could and might restructure the contracts of defensive end Stephon Tuitt and kicker Chris Boswell at some point between now and the start of the 2021 regular season. Those two restructures, if indeed done, would free up a little more than $5 million when and if they happen. The team is also expected to sign outside linebacker T.J. Watt to an extension at some point during the summer. Such a transaction could potentially free up, or use up, a little bit of 2021 salary cap space, depending on the structure and new money amounts of the deal.
As you can see below by my numbers, other Steelers’ blogs are way off the mark when it comes to their recapping of the team’s salary cap situation. This is a result of them not having a grasp of what counts and doesn’t count against the Rule of 51, in addition to having a few wrong contract amounts and poor accounting habits.
So, why do my numbers not match those on Over the Cap, who at the time of this post has the Steelers $15,336,617 under the cap? For starters, OTC is missing the $80,000 credit the Steelers received in the middle of April and the $120,000 debit they acquired a few weeks ago. Additionally, OTC is not accounting for the prorated bonus money of players that are not qualified to sit in the top 51. They also do not have the signing of Turner accounted for. Account for those differences in the OTC numbers and you come out with the Steelers being $12,749,106 under the cap right now, like my numbers show, and assuming the Turner cap charge is $3 million even.