So You Really Want To Cut Willie Colon?

Immediately after the news started circulating around that Pittsburgh Steelers guard Willie Colon might be done for the season with a knee injury, I received several questions via Twitter about how much it would cost to release Colon after the season.

Colon signed a five-year, $29 million contract prior to the 2011 season and he restructured that contract to this past offseason to help the team lower his 2012 cap hit. That restructure added on more prorated bonus onto each of his final three years in the process giving him $6.45 million worth of proration left, or $2.15 million per season.

Colon has a base salary due him in 2013 of $5.5 million which means his cap hit in 2013 is scheduled to be $7.65 million. If he were to be released prior to June 1st the entire proration of $6.45 million left on the books comes forward as a dead money hit. So the Steelers essentially only save $1.2 million against next year’s cap.

Should Colon be released after June 1st, his dead money hit would be the originally scheduled prorated amount of $2.15 million, with the remaining $4.3 million scheduled proration counting as dead money in 2014. After June 1st saves $5.5 million in cap space doing it that way, but creates the 2014 dead money hit.

Keep in mind that both Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents as well and that means you run the risk of losing three linemen in the offseason. Colon would easily get signed as free agent if cut, and both Foster and Legursky would also likely get lower valued attention.

  • steeltown

    Regardless, I sure hope they retain Foster, he’s proven he can play with the big boys

  • If the proration can be spread out, then they should keep him around for training camp and have an open competition for LG. If another viable option emerges, then it’s time to cut ties with Willie.

  • If he can get stronger during the off-season, I think Beachum could be the future at LG

  • John Mazza

    With the contract he has he’s not going anywhere. Only saving 1.2 isn’t worth it. That’s how much a LG would cost anyway. I would like to see Foster learn LG though so we can insert Decastro when ready. I don’t like the fact that decastro is on the bench and pounce is at LG.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Colon is good where he is. His injury this year is a direct result of Suggs choping him. I for one will be glad if the competetion committe outlaws ALL chop blocks offensive or defensive.

  • JT

    I’ve been a big fan of Willie at guard this season. Had he been playing RT all year, I’d be okay with letting him go because of the talent we potentially have there. But I want Colon there to hold down the fort until they can really grow a younger guy to pair with DeCastro.

  • TrueSteelerForLife

    Yeah, I don’t think we have seen the last of the Colon. I don’t think we are able to retain Foster or Legursky who are both capable starters and have been on display enough for the other 31 gms to see that. I think Colon and Decastro are gonna be the projected starters next year. Max Starks is also gonna be a free agent after this year and I think between him and Colon everybody would much rather see max brought back. Here’s to hoping we can keep both!

  • Clint Martin

    They need Pouncey back at center and colon at guard.

  • steeltown

    Foster has played some at LG over the last 3yrs, I still dont get why they havent moved Foster to LG and keep Pouncey at Center

  • steeltown

    They should have given Foster a (2-3yr) contract extension before this season. He played very well last year too and you could tell he was a solid player. They couldve signed him for relatively cheap at that point, now he’ll be an Unrestricted FA and will cost more to retain

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Thanks Dave.
    Dissappointing to hear the real numbers on that.

    But as far as Colon getting signed elsewhere if he gets cut, so what he’ll be injured on some other sucker’s bench.

    And I’m not worried about which team will pay Legursky, he’ll get paid whatever people get paid who can only play center, found to not be versatile. If thats elsewhere, teams find backup centers anywhere. Essex can tell ya that. For backup center next offseason we could get a FA or teach Beachum or Lee.

  • dudek km

    He was having a good year, considering a position change. Hopefully he gets healthy, there is no reason to cut ties, with all that dead money. He was a much better guard that Kemeautu ever was.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Foster’s so slow though cant pull. Teach Foster center instead, Since Essex learned center, maybe Foster can.

  • JT

    I think it’s funny people will still single out Colon with the episode of MASH they have playing out on the O-line seemingly every week.

  • Ahmad

    So now what? Does Pouncey stay at LG for the rest of the year or does Foster switch over and DeCastro play RG?

  • Primanti05

    This just in…..
    False start, #74, offense, 5 yard penalty, still second down.
    Holding, #74, offense, 10 yard penalty, still third down

  • Primanti05

    We need a “Colon” cleansing….

  • Chris92021

    No, don’t cut him. Colon was a victim of the Ravens’ chop block techniques. Colon will be a Pro Bowl guard when he gets more experience. Plus he’s still under 30.

  • Chris92021

    Foster is the emergency center.

  • steeltown

    Beachum will be our backup Center soon, that would be my guess. They mentioned it when they drafted him. Obviously he is capable of playing other positions on the OLine, but I ultimately think he was drafted to be Legursky’s replacement

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Thanks. Good news to me.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Good news, I didnt know that. Thanks

  • Colon hasn’t played at a high level in 3 years and the idea that we can’t find something better to do with the 5.5 million he is due to be paid next year is questionable at best.

    It doesn’t help us much on the cap next year but if he, as has been the case for years, gives you uneven play for a few games next year we will have lost another 5.5 mil, hurt the 2013 team and will be in a comparable position cap wise having just delayed the hit a year. I’m not positive I would cut him but I would be leaning that way.

  • steeltown

    It’s speculation on my part. But as mentioned by another poster, it will be hard to retain, Legursky and/or Foster and/or Starks next season. My guess of the bunch would be Starks and/or Foster, leaving Legursky the odd man out.. and as I mentioned, when they drafted Beachum they made a point to speak of his intelligence and possible interior versatility

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    3rd year in a row he’s landed on IR. Not sure he’s really worth it.

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    Don’t forget the occasional personal foul…..and that’s when he is playing and not on IR

  • Mike Carroll

    Colon’s situation is prime example of why the Steelers need to be careful with the parade of salary restructures they’ve had the last couple years. They postponed the salary cap hit of a player who, at the time, had just missed his second consecutive season? Why? All for the sake of winning now. Now, it’s Colon’s 3rd year in row on IR. They’ve done the same thing with Woodley who is now missing significant time with injuries for the second year in a row.

    I can only hope the Rooneys do not continue to extend Colbert/Tomlin the privilege of borrowing significantly from future salary caps which are yet to be determined. (By the way, John Clayton reported this offseason the salary cap may remain flat through 2015.) The organization needs to make the team work without overextending themselves, ending up with mounting piles of dead or virtually dead cap money.

  • TraceGamble

    Cut Colon? You’re crazy! Colon was having a good year. He, Pouncey and Adams were mixing it up, pushing opponents around and showing some nasty for a few games they played together. Since they’ve been shuffled around and out due to injuries, the O-line’s been getting pushed around. The offense needs the nasty attitude those guys bring… just without the penalties. Need his youth and versatility too.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Good points.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    He does seem to get backed up often. And colon injury sounds painful.