Omar Khan Open To Restructuring Contracts For Salary Cap Space During Offseason

After re-signing exclusive rights free agent outside linebacker Jamir Jones on Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently an estimated $908,181 over the 2023 NFL salary cap designation and that number includes the annual NFLPA workout bonus placeholder amount being accounted for. And while there are still a cut or three forthcoming between now and March 15, there’s a good chance at some point during the offseason that the Steelers will need to restructure a contract or two to clear even more salary cap space.

On Tuesday, Steelers general manager Omar Khan made the media rounds at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and during his podium session, he was asked if the team will continue to consider “creative” ways during the offseason to clear salary cap space with him now serving as the team’s general manager.

“I don’t really like to use the word creative, but if there’s an opportunity to get a player, and we have to maneuver some things, I’m going to be open to that,” Khan said. “That’s not going to change. The goal is to have the best 53 players you can on your roster come opening week and we’ll do what we got to do to make sure we have the opportunity to get those players that we want.”

Khan was then asked specifically if restructuring contracts could be part of the process of clearing additional salary cap space during the offseason.

“I think it’s part of the process and if the opportunity’s there, yeah,” Khan said. “I mean, I’d love to tell you that we’re never going to do it, but it’s just part of the process. It’s there, it’s an opportunity for us. If there’s an opportunity to create cap room, if that’s how we do it, then we’ll do it.”

So, what does this all mean at its core? Well, in short, I think fans of the team can look forward to a few contract restructures happening between now and the start of the 2023 regular season. The two players most likely to have their contracts restructured prior to Week 1 are outside linebacker T.J. Watt and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

A full restructure of Watt’s contract would produce $12,613,333 in 2023 salary cap space while a full contract restructure on Fitzpatrick would result in another $10.065 million in space bring created. Should Khan and the Steelers deem it necessary, wide receiver Diontae Johnson could have his contract restructured as well and in doing so, yet another $4.71 million in 2023 salary cap space could be created. Personally, I will be surprised if the restructuring goes past Watt and Fitzpatrick, but there’s always a chance just the same.

Next up for the Steelers will be the start of free agency and at that same time they will need to compliant with the league’s salary cap number. With that noted, and despite the team being right up against the salary cap with two weeks to go until the 2023 league year gets underway, Khan made it clear on Tuesday that the team can be as active as they need to be in the coming weeks when it comes to re-signing their own players set to become unrestricted free agents, or any outside unrestricted free agents as well.

“I think you guys have kind of seen through different seasons what kind of [cap] shape we’ve been,” Khan said on Tuesday. “We’re obviously in a lot better shape than we’ve been in the past. There are years where we’ve had to get pretty, I don’t really like to use the word creative, but had to do some things. And we’re comfortable at if there’s the opportunity to improve our team with someone, we can make things happen and sign [players]. There’s nothing that’s going to be holding us back.”

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