I received a rant via email today as to why the Pittsburgh Steelers signed kicker Shaun Suisham to a four-year deal prior to the season started and if they indeed were stuck with him in 2012 because of it. The short answer is of course no, they are not stuck with him and below is the long answer as to why.
The Suisham four-year contract included a $1.35 million signing bonus that gets amortized over the 4 years of the deal. With one year now in the books, Suisham has $1.0125 million left of signing bonus that needs to be accounted for. He is scheduled to count $1.6875 against the 2012 salary cap, which we can all agree is a bit high for a kicker of his caliber.
Should the Steelers cut him prior to June 1st, they will have to eat the $1.0125 as dead money in 2012, but if they wait and release him after June 1st or after training camp they will only be on the hook for $337,500 dead money in 2012 and the remaining $675,000 will be pushed over as dead money in 2013. Basically they can save $1.35 million against the 2012 cap by cutting him after June 1st as opposed to saving just $675,000 by cutting him early.
The Steelers usually always have two kickers in camp and there is always an outside chance they could draft one in April as well late. Suisham may indeed be in camp when it opens, but you can bet he will have competition and has likely made his last kick in the black and gold. So fear not, we are not stuck with him just because of the long contract he signed.