How The Steelers Can Clear $20 Million In 2013 Cap Space Via Four Restructures

Since my post this past week about the Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 salary cap situation I have received a few request from readers asking if I would better explain how Omar Khan will go about clearing over $20 million in cap space this upcoming offseason. This will likely be done by restructuring the contracts of four players and I have broken down each of those players and their restructure processes below.

Ben Roethlisberger – Last offseason the Steelers turned $10.7 million of Roethlisberger\’s $11.6 million base salary into a signing bonus to clear $8.025 million in cap space. This offseason they could easily turn as much as $10.6 million of his $11.6 million base salary due him in 2013 into another signing bonus which would lower his base salary down to $1 million and make his 2013 cap hit $12.528 million. That would lower his 2013 cap hit $7.067 million. The final two years of his contract would then have cap hits of $18.928 million and $19.428 million respectively.

LaMarr Woodley – Woodley is due a $9 million base salary in 2013 and is scheduled to count $13.24 million against the cap. Last offseason the Steelers turned $2.7 million of his $3.4 million base salary along with his $5.5 million roster bonus due him into a signing bonus to clear $6.56 million in cap space. In 2013 Woodley does not have a roster bonus due him so they could turn $8 million of his $9 million base salary into a signing bonus to clear $5 million in cap space.

Lawrence Timmons – Timmons is due a 2013 base salary of $5.375 million and also has a $2.5 million roster bonus due him in addition. Turning all of that except for a million of his base salary into a signing bonus would lower his 2013 cap hit from $11.16 million down to $6.004 million, which would be savings of $5.156 million.

Antonio BrownBrown is scheduled to have a $2 million base salary in 2013 and is also due a $2.5 million roster bonus. His 2013 cap is scheduled to be $6.2 million. If the Steelers only decided to turn his $2.5 million roster bonus into a signing bonus his new cap hit would be $4.2 million, which would clear $2 million in cap space.

Now in this example I used a one million base salary on Roethlisberger, Woodley and Timmons just to make the numbers easier to understand. Between those four players we have easily cleared $19.233 million in cap space and it actually could wind up being a little more depending on how much under a one million base salary they use with the first three players.

Many will ask if Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor are candidates to be restructured as well and the simple answer to that is no due to the fact that both are only under contract though the 2014 season and both could see 2013 as their final year with the Steelers. The four aforementioned players are really the only candidates to restructure.

  • JT

    Do you have a clue on the Colts cap situation? After some thinking, Wallace could be trouble in Indy. Andrew Luck obviously will be a force in the league, and Arians will know exactly what to do with Wallace in that dome.

  • zyzak

    I think Wallace would sign there in a minute. BA left and his production went down.

  • steeltown

    Thanks Bryan. I thought the same about A.Brown considering his new contract.. and the Ike and Troy thing makes sense, 2013 may very well be the last season for a few Steeler greats. Although I do believe Polamalu plays out his contract through 2014, Ike Taylor may be a different story, especially if they sign K.Lewis long term and Cortez turns into the solid player that we all hope

  • steeltown

    I truly believe Harrison just might be the big name cap casualty this offseason, unless he takes a paycut which I dont see. It would be a shame to see him go, he still played very well, but in order to keep some of the younger guys I think they will again have to trim some off the top. Plus Worilds seems to be ready, he has been productive when he’s on the field and had as many sacks as Harrison did in 2012 with less playing time. Harrison seems like the only candidate. Keisel and Clark have stayed healthy and both dont cost much against the cap (both are bargains in my opinion) Clark has been lights out!

  • Kysteeler

    This is a really good find, shows that the cap situation really isn’t as bad as we think, yes it might cost us Harrison too, but we def shouldn’t have to clear house. It will be interesting to see who we can bring back as far as Foster, Lewis, Mendy, and Wallace.

  • I think LaMarr Woodley comes into training camp in July in the best shape of his life. He knows he has a chance to be the next great Steeler LB. I’m holding out hope that Spence is moved to SS and that we address the MLB position in this draft since that’s a deep position. (Please let Te’o be around when we draft–but I doubt it)

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Dave B does a great job here of explaining the mechanisms available for manipulating the cap, but by far the most important thing is the simplest; you can’t grossly overpay.

    I don’t like the idea of pushing dead money forward on Woodley with a simple restructure. Is he really worth $9M and deserving of being the second highest paid player on the team? If you restructure him again this year, he is going to account for well over 10% of the cap in years 2014-2016. I think in exchange for guaranteeing his $9M in 2012, I’d try to get something back on the $25.5M he has left in 2014-2016.

  • Mike Carroll

    Woodley’s contract shouId not be restructured again. I don’t doubt Woodley may come back next year and play well. But what if he doesn’t? What if he disappoints for a third straight season? This is a real possibililty and if he flops again the team must retain at least some possibility of cutting him. However, if the team continues to restructure his contract, they will reduce their ability to cut him in future years. The team essentially will become more tied to him, similar to the current situation with Willie Colon.

    On top of that, it’s simply stupid to reward a player with increased job security and more guaranteed money (both via the restructure), when that player has disappointed for two seasons in a row and coaches have complained about his conditioning. That would be terrible message to send to Woodley as well as the rest of the team.

    I will be really disappointed in the organization if they choose to restructure Woodley again this offseason. I have some hope they won’t do it.