It is that time of year to start tracking the 2011 Steelers salary cap total numbers and roster situation as we head into the offseason. By my count after the Thursday signings, the Steelers have 51 players under contract right now for 2011. Bookmark this post as we will add and subtract and make notes here going forward to track the roster moves and salary cap situation. There is no hard number without a CBA, but experts estimate the number will be around $135 million, given how the cap has risen in years past. These numbers are estimations based on NFLPA figures and numbers gathered through USA Today and newspaper reports on contracts.
You should keep in mind the Rule of 51 going forward. This basically means the true total of your team cap until the final cutdown date is judged by rule of 51 where only the top 51 salaries counted against the salary cap. Going forward as the roster goes past 51, you will see 2 totals. A grand total and a Rule 51 total.
UPDATED on 3/6/11 - Included estimation of LaMarr Woodley one-year franchise tag amount and added Da\'Mon Cromartie-Smith and Sunny Harris to the list of players now under contract. Rule of 51 total now sits around $129,000,000 or so with 56 players under contract for 2011 thus far. The Steelers have tendered 5 players, 2 of which are restricted free agents, but until anyone signs, they will not be added to this list. Also Doug Legursky is an exclusive rights free agent and will be added to the list when he signs.
UPDATED on 7/21/11 - The 2011 salary is expected to be around $120 million.
UPDATED on 7/27/11 - Updated to add the 20 undrafted free agents and I adjusted the proposed minimum salaries per the reports. I currently have the rule of 51 total at $130,160,000 but I feel it is likely short. My feeling a more realistic number is around $131,000,000 or so. These numbers ONLY include players currently under contract. It does not include the draft picks, the restricted free agents or any free agents the Steelers have agreed to terms with. No player will be added to the list until under contract. These numbers will all change very rapidly over the next several days and I will update them as I get the numbers.
UPDATED on 7/27/11 - Updated to reflect the release of Max Starks and Antwaan Randel El. Rule of 51 total now at $124,920,000, but more realistically around $125,800,000 or so.
UPDATED on 7/28/11 - Updated to reflect the tender signings of Doug Legursky & Ryan Munday that are believed to be 1 year contracts worth $600,000. Rule of 51 total now at $124,120,000 and includes $2,300,000 of dead money, but more realistically around the amount might be around $125,000,000 or so with my error margin. These numbers still do not reflect the signings of Willie Colon, Jonathan Scott and Shaun Suisham currently.
UPDATED on 8/1/11 - Updated to reflect the new contracts of Ike Taylor, Willie Colon, Jonathan Scott, Daniel Sepulveda, Shaun Suisham, William Gay, Chris Hoke, Mewelde Moore and Dennis Dixon. I should note that the numbers of Hoke, Gay, Sepulveda, Suisham, Scott and Moore are guesses based on years accrued and guess at a signing bonus. Not all of these numbers are right as the numbers are not truly known right now. I also have taken a stab at the draft pick contracts and they should be close. Right now I have the Rule of 51 number just over $130,000,000 and this does not reflect the restructures yet of Roethlisberger, Keisel and Harrison as I do not yet know how much of the 2011 base of each was restructured. One could summize it was $5 million for Ben at least and maybe $1 million each for Keisel and Harrison. If that indeed is the case, the Steelers could be right around the $123,000,000 number right now. My Rule 51 number also includes the dead money of Starks and El, but there still is not clarity if teams will be forced to eat a portion of dead money this year or all of it next year in the new CBA as it relates to post lockout cuts. For now I have that $2.3 included in my number until I hear otherwise.
UPDATED on 8/5/11 - Updated to reflect the new contract extension of LaMarr Woodley. My current numbers still do not reflect the restructures of James Harrison, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Keisel, Chris Kemoeatu and Heath Miller as I am still gathering information on those. I have the rule 51 total around $127,000,000 or so and there restructures very well could save another $10 million realistically the way I have done initial figuring. If indeed this is the case, the Steelers would be in the neighborhood of $117,000,000 and have plenty of room for another extension for both Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons as it would raise the Timmons cap hit and lower the Polamalu cap it.
UPDATED on 8/5/11 - Cleaned up some errors, but still waiting on word of the restructures which I think could total up to $10,000,000. I mentioned previously that there is still some cloudiness on how the post lockout cuts dead money will be handled this year. I currently am charging using the old post June 1st cut rules, so there might $2,300,000 more in room. At the very least it is a nice margin of error buffer at this point. Rest assured the Steelers are under the cap by a good $5-7 million or more at this point in my honest opinion. More updates coming soon.
UPDATED on 8/7/11 - Updated to reflect Keisel restructure that created $1.35 million in cap space by converting $2.025 million in base salary into a signing bonus.
UPDATED on 8/8/11 - Added Jarrett Crittenton and deleted Ty Boyle. Move does not affect Rule of 51 total.
UPDATED on 8/9/11 - updated to reflect restructures of Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, Heath Miller and Chris Kemoeatu. I currently have the rule of 51 number around $119,500,000 which is around $4 million under the cap. Ed Bouchette posted yesterday that the Steelers were only $3 million under so that means I am around $1 million off which is not too bad at this point in the game. I should still note that I am still including $2.3 million in dead money in my number as I have still yet to clarify if the post lockout cut rule as it applies to dead money this year. I am using the old post June 1st cut rule until I hear otherwise. This could mean my numbers could be off by that much more.
UPDATED on 8/16/11 - updated to reflect Jerricho Cotchery signing and had left out Tony Hills all this time since he signed his tender. Thanks to Josh in the comments. Rule of 51 total around $120,623,167 or nearly $3 million under the cap. I know of a few errors I need to correct over the next few days, but for the most part this is pretty close to the number which I believe to be around $4.5 million under. I think I am around $1.7 million or so off and I think I know where that may be as I am still including dead money that I believe the league is allowing to be pushed off until 2012. If that is the case, I am off by $600 K or so and think I can get it even closer.
UPDATED on 8/24/11 - updated to reflect new contract of Lawrence Timmons and the signing of Trai Essex. Also reflected is the drop of Limas Sweed and the addition of the other players to the roster. I finally was able to get around to correcting a few errors I knew that I had. The current Rule of 51 cap number is around $121,798,542 and I think I am a bit high there. Realistically I think the Steelers sit around $121,000,000 or about $2.4 million under the cap.
UPDATED on 8/30/11 - updated to reflect the first round of cuts as the roster as been trimmed to 80 players with Baron Batch on injured reserve. Batch will count fully against the cap on IR once season starts. UI currently have them around $121,525,542 but more realistically it is around $121,000,000 which would be about $2.4 million under the cap.
UPDATED on 9/14/11 - updated to fix several small errors I had and reflect the last cuts and dead money. I still do not have the official numbers of the new Troy Polamalu contract, but early word is his 2011 cap number might have increased from his previous 2011 cap hit hit of $8,595,000. Also not included yet is the signing of Jamon Meredith. It is however believed that his deal was for the minimum far around $600,000 with no signing bonus. If indeed the number of Polamalu is now over $9 million and you add in the Meredith contract, the Steelers could very well be roughly less than a million under the cap as of right now.
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