Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert talked to members of the media on Wednesday and he had some pretty strong words as it relates to the 2013 roster. Colbert said during that talk that the organization is not married to any one player on the roster.
“If we don’t change 8-8, if we don’t change the roster that produced 8-8, we\’d be silly to expect a better result if we have the same group of guys … We\’re not married to any of these guys,” Colbert said.
Colbert also let it be known that the Steelers will get themselves under the salary cap through terminations, extensions, and restructuring of some existing contracts.
As far as terminations go, these will be what you would call cap casualties and there aren\’t many candidates for those when you look at the players currently under contract for 2013.
Below are the four players that Colbert is most likely looking at releasing over the course of the next 8 weeks and the amount that the team will save salary cap wise by doing so.
James Harrison – I have been talking about Harrison being a possible salary cap casualty this season long before last season even got underway. The veteran linebacker will be 35 in May and his base salary due him next season is $6.57 with a cap hit of $10.035 million. The Steelers can clear $5.105 million in cap space by releasing him. Will he take a straight $3 million plus reduction in his base salary to stay? We will see, but even that might not be enough to save him.
Willie Colon – Colon has been on the injured reserve list for three straight seasons now and has played in a total of 12 games since he signed a five-year, $29 million contract prior to the 2011 season. The Steelers also restructured his contract last season as well in order to free up cap space, but you can bet there will be no restructure this time around. The Steelers only stand to save $1.2 million in cap space by releasing him, but at least they will not be paying a $5.5 million salary to player that is now a high risk to not play a full season.
Brett Keisel – Keisel is next on the list only because of his age and his salary. Do I think that he will ultimately be a cap casualty? No, but I would also not bet my house that he is 100% in the clear either. 2013 is the final year of Keisel\’s contract, so the math is pretty simple with him. He is scheduled to earn a $2.825 million base salary and count $4.5 million against the cap. The cap savings here? The base salary of $2.825 million.
Jerricho Cotchery – I can hear everyone now. No, not Jerricho! Much like Keisel, you have to at least consider him as a possibility because of his cost and production up until this point. Cotchery is set to earn a $1 million base salary in 2013 and count $1.5 million against the cap. Releasing him saves that $1 million. How bad do they need that $1 million in cap space? We will soon find out.
The other names that folks will likely try to throw around as potential cap casualties are Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and Ike Taylor. I can tell you right now, all four of the players are safe even though Colbert claims that he isn\’t married to anyone right now. I would be pretty shocked if any of those three players are released.
Should all four of the aforementioned players wind up being released the Steelers will clear a total of $10.13 million in salary cap space.
You can see the complete 2013 salary cap situation for the Steelers here that is updated on a regular basis.