Steelers 2023 Salary Cap Update – Thursday Morning – April 6

Steelers Salary Cap

The Pittsburgh Steelers finally officially announced the signings of four players this past week after safety Damontae Kazee, tight end Zach Gentry, safety Keanu Neal and defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko all inked their contracts. With the details of those four deals now known, we can now update the Steelers’ 2023 salary cap situation, as well as the team’s outlook.

Let’s start with the fact that the signings of Kazee, Gentry, Neal, and Fehoko only used $2,147,500 in available salary cap space following top 51 roster displacement taking place. Obviously that is a low amount of salary cap space used, which is a result of none of those four contracts having a 2023 cap charge greater than $2.125 million, which belongs to Kazee.

With those four players signed, and with the offseason workout bonus placeholder charge accounted for, I have the Steelers sitting at $9,639,319 under the Rule of 51. While the NFLPA salary cap page shows the Steelers at $11,673,919 under the cap as of Thursday morning, that amount does not account for Kazee’s contract or the offseason workout placeholder amount of $849,600. Both of those amounts should hit the NFLPA salary cap page soon.

With the Steelers technically $9,639,319 under the cap as we sit here on April 6, that’s obviously enough room to add a few more free agents and especially cheap ones that might require one-year veteran benefit contracts. A contract for free agent outside linebacker Bud Dupree should be affordable, assuming his 2023 cap charge is around or under $4 million.

Moving forward, however, several charges will need to be accounted for, the first being the signings of the 2023 draft class and undrafted free agents. I have those signings budgeted at roughly $3.7 million in available salary cap space as we sit here today.

The Steelers will need to afford a 52nd and 53rd player prior to Week 1 as well as a 16-man practice squad. Combined, those two checklist items will likely use around $5.5 million in available salary cap space.

Some extra cap space for possible Reserve/Injured player replacements might be needed by Week 1 and I have budgeted $3 million in salary cap space for that. Additionally, the Steelers have entered their last two seasons with right around $9 million in available salary cap space for in-season signings and practice squad elevations. Those budgeted items both show up in the table below.

As previously noted, the Steelers are likely to restructure the contract of outside linebacker T.J. Watt prior to Week 1. A full restructuring would create $12,613,334 in 2023 salary cap space. Should a need arise, the Steelers could also restructure the contract of defensive tackle Cameron Heyward. Such a move would free up as much as $7,342,500 in 2023 salary cap space. Currently, I’m not expecting a Heyward restructure to happen, but the team has that option at its disposal.

While there are sure to be a few contract terminations from the current Rule of 51 by Week 1, such transactions aren’t likely to free up a ton of 2023 salary cap space. The Steelers might, however, create enough salary cap space to afford an increase of the 2023 salary cap charge of outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, should he indeed sign a contract extension this summer.

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