Not only did the Pittsburgh Steelers restructure the contract of linebacker LaMarr Woodley recently, but they also restructured the contract of linebacker Lawrence Timmons as well according to Ed Bouchette. The numbers of the restructure are not yet available, but as I mentioned in a previous post it likely involved turning a good portion of Timmons\' base salary and the $4.5 million roster bonus he is due into signing bonus monies and stretching it out over the remaining years left on the contract.
Timmons new contract that he signed prior to the start of the 2011 season had a total 2012 cap charge of $9.125 million and that included a base salary of $2.625 million according to my records. Until I know exactly how much of the base was turned into signing bonus, all I can do is guess on what the new cap charge will be and I will use a safe new base number of $1 million as a guess. I doubt that is the exact number, but using that in this example, it would turn $1.625 of his scheduled 2012 base into signing bonus along with the $4.5 million roster bonus. That would mean $6.125 million would be spread out over the 5 years left on the contract, or $1.225 million added on to each year. Using the numbers in this example, that would make his new 2012 cap charge $4.225 million and be a savings of $4.9 million.
When you combine that with the restructure of Woodley a few days ago and the release of Bryant McFadden and Arnaz Battle on Wednesday, the Steelers have slashed around $15 million off of the 2012 salary cap number in just a few days. Now of course there will be a few more roster moves and restructures in the coming weeks, and that should include a restructure of the 2012 base salary of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well. The daunting $20 million plus over the cap number that the front office was faced with at the end of the regular season is quickly coming into line. I should have the official Timmons numbers soon.
ETA: The Steelers ended up dropping the base salary of Timmons down to $700,000 just like they did with Woodley, and did indeed combine the $4.5 million roster bonus together with $1.925 million drop in base salary into a signing bonus that they will amortize over the remaining years of the contract. Instead of the $4.225 million cap charge in 2012 that I guessed at in my example, it is now $3,985 million. That means the cap savings equates to $5.14 million instead of the of the $4.9 million I projected in my estimate.