Jason La Canfora from the NFL Network reported on Thursday that Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Willie Colon is not willing to take a pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh following another injury-marred season. Colon has fully recovered from his torn right triceps muscle that he suffered in the week 1 game against the Baltimore Ravens last season. In 2010 Colon injured his Achilles\’ tendon while working out in late June and it ultimately required surgery and forced him to miss the entire 2010 season as a result.
Prior to the start of the 2011 season Colon was an unrestricted agent and the Steelers signed him back to a five-year, $29 million contract after he received some interest from the Chicago Bears. Colon is scheduled to earn a base salary of $4.5 million in 2012 and count $5.7 million against the salary cap. The Steelers would only save $900K in cap money if they were to release Colon prior to June 1st and they currently do not have any experienced depth behind him outside of Jonathan Scott, who could end up a salary cap casualty himself.
If Colon indeed was asked to take a pay cut and declined, he could still be in line for a restructure, where a good portion of his base salary would be turned into a signing bonus and prorated out over the remaining 4 years of his contract. Turning $3.5 million of his 2012 base into a signing bonus would only save the Steelers $1.425 million in cap space however. So it seems likely it would be only done if they really got into a crunch.