Steelers Salary Cap Update: 2013 Cap Number Could End Up Above $123 Million

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported on Tuesday that a source with knowledge told him that the 2013 NFL salary cap number could come in at $123 million or higher. That is great news if you are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan as this number has slowly been inching up over the course of the last several weeks.

It was also reported on Tuesday that the Steelers restructured the contract of Lawrence Timmons to free up roughly $5 million in cap space. With that restructure out of the way now, I will give you a quick update as to where the team currently is at in their Rule of 51 number as it relates to a $123 million cap number. This won\’t be exact until we know the full amount of the Timmons restructure, but the max that they could have saved is $5.37 million, so this will be close.

Assuming the Timmons restructure cleared exactly $5 million in cap space, that would put the Rule of 51 number right around $130,902,456 million, or in other words, $7,902,456 million over a cap number of $123 million.

The Steelers reportedly have a $1.4 million cap credit due them in 2013, of which $758,000 is carryover from unused cap space from the 2012 season. That credit, based on a $123 million salary cap number, puts the team roughly $6,502,456 million over the cap. That\’s where we are at right now.

The Steelers still have to tender their restricted free agents prior to the start of the new league year, however, and they will need another $4.59 million after displacement should they low tender Emmanuel Sanders, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Steve McLendon and Stevenson Sylvester, like I expect them to do.

Working those projected tenders in, that puts the Steelers $11,092,456 million over a cap number of $123 million. Quite a bit of meat on the bone as you can see.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to have his contract restructured any day now and that will save the Steelers a maximum of $7,173,334 million. If we were to project that full amount into our running total that would put the team $3,919,122 million over with two players restructured and five restricted free agent players low tendered.

Should the Steelers fully restructure the contracts of linebacker LaMarr Woodley and wide receiver Antonio Brown, like I expect them to do, that will clear another $9,309,750 million in cap space and put the team roughly $5,390,628 million under the cap.

They Steelers also need another $220,000 after displacement when they tender their exclusive rights free agents, Baron Batch and DeMarcus Van Dyke, so that puts them roughly at $5,170,628 million under a $123 million cap number.

The above work at least gets the team under the cap, but they will need more room if they are going to sign a few of their own unrestricted free agents such as Keenan Lewis and Larry Foote for starters. They also appear to be very interested in free agent wide receiver Steve Breaston in addition. Unless they have more restructures planned other than the four that I outlined above, they will need to terminate a few contracts or ask a few players to take cuts to their salaries. This is where the status of linebacker James Harrison pops back into the talk.

Should the Steelers release Harrison outright they will clear another $5.105 million in cap space prior to displacement. According to a report on Monday, the Steelers met with Harrison\’s agent Bill Parise in Indianapolis at the NFL combine and the two sides are expected to meet again over the course of the next two weeks.

I hope that clears the Steelers current salary cap situation up for you heading into Wednesday and keep your fingers crossed that the $123 million amount ends up indeed being the number.

  • Jason White

    Dave you’re the best. You always know how to put things in perspective.

  • Mikey Hoje

    Dave is nearly perfect but he’s not. Example, he doesn’t post much from 4 to 5:15 am. 🙂

  • mjfsteeler

    U said in a previous post that the Steelers can designate 2 players as post Jun 1st cuts, would it make more sense to designate Harrison & Colon? Or release Harrison, designate Colon?

  • Nolrog

    Don’t they also need a fair amount of cap room for this years draft picks? How does that factor in?

  • zyzak

    Doesn’t look like Keenan will be back. It looks like a choice between JH and Lewis. That’s a big decision, better draft some CBs

  • Nolrog

    Honestly, it’s not that difficult of a decision. Keenan Lewis is part of the future, James Harrison is part of the past. Pretty cut and dried to me.

  • HarryBackside

    Great news! Now let’s use that money to either re-sign Lewis, or sign a FA who can be a long term solution at ILB

  • zyzak

    I agree but do they?

  • Ahmad

    So if it comes down to James Harrison or Keenan Lewis, I think it’s a no brainer we keep Lewis.

  • steeltown

    I cant believe I’m saying this, but they should consider asking Troy to take a slight paycut, his cap hits over the next 2years are over $10MIL per season. I would say Ike Taylor to but he actually played to his contract. Then cut Harrison (and possibly Colon, though post June 1st would save more) that along with Ben and Browns restructures I think would provide enough to re-sign K.Lewis and Foote and sign Breaston with a low low 2013 base salary, but high bonus.

    Keep in mind, Foote will be cheap to sign, he already said he play for less money and Breastons contract (if signed) could have a low base salary intitially as well.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. I love Harrison, but we HAVE TO sign our young talent, not retain our old Vets, business is business

  • SteelersDepot

    The Randy Steele fellow above is forgetting the roster bonus due Timmons. Randy Steele should read this:

  • JC

    Can someone explain what a restructure means? It sounds like we’re just pushing money towards the future and hurting ourselves.

  • steeltown

    Sort of.. yes

    They are basically taking the base salary of said player in 2013 and turning the majority of it into a bonus, that bonus gets prorated (spread out) over the course of the remaining years of contract to lighten the load for THIS year, BUT if said player does not play out the contracted years then that’s were dead money comes in

    So, yes, it can hurt the Team in the future, but with a player like Timmons I fully expect him to play out the remaining years of his contract.

    You would not want to restructure a player like Colon who you think might not play his entire contract due to injury or subpar play

    But, yes, they are saving money/cap room THIS year, but adding to the burden in the future

  • Jason White

    Yeah it would be foolish to invest 4 years into a guy and turn him into a pretty damn good player with a bright future and then let him walk just for the sake of getting 1 or 2 more years out of a declining vet who hasn’t been completely healthy for the last couple seasons. I would hope the Steelers have more brains than that. I am sure they do.

  • steeltown

    Yep.. same could be said for Foster and possibly even Worilds after this season. It’s becoming alarming. This current roster core (Ike, Troy, Keisel, Harrison, Clark etc) will be gone and non existent soon, They better keep that in mind

  • Jason White

    I can appreciate their loyalty to those guys but like you said their seasons are numbered. It has baffled me that they haven’t drafted a safety since I believe Mundy in 2008. Especially knowing the injury history of Troy. That’s why I hope they don’t gamble by relying on a mid to later round player cause they might not be ready to start in a season or two. I really hope they pull the trigger on Matt Elam.

  • steeltown

    I agree.. I think Golden might have some upside, but other than that we have nobody. Even if they do draft a Safety this year, they still may want to try and re-sign Will Allen

    If they dont get one of the TOP Safeties (Vaccaro, Elam, Reid) they better get Cyprien or Williams in the 3rd and maybe even pull the trigger on a guy like Swearinger in the 5th.. because besides Will Allen (who might not be back) we have no one behind Clark and Troy, except an inexperienced Golden

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Many might think Im crazy for saying this but we have to keep Lewis. Ike is nearing the end of his career where Lewis’s is just starting. Wouldn’t it be smarter to terminate Ike’s contract to keep a younger guy on the roster. Thoughts?

  • steeltown

    I agree.. to an extent.. I dont think we should terminate Ike’s contract this season, but next offseason, probably, especially considering we have a solid prospect in Cortez

    I think they can lock up Lewis by releasing Harrison

    Ha, now if for some reason we cant retain Lewis this offseason and he walks via FA.. then I’ll be singing a different tune.. and I’d have to agree that we shouldve axed Ike to keep the future (Lewis & Cortez) intact

  • Mike Carroll

    Here’s my prescription for the offseason, after the Timmons restructure:
    1. Complete Ben’s max restructure, puts the team about $670,000 under the cap.
    2. Cut Harrison, start Worilds. Team is then about $5.4M under cap after displacement with league min salary player.
    3. Tender all RFAs at original round number, except Sylvestor. Puts team at $1.7M under cap after displacement.
    4. Tender both ERFAs. Puts team about $1.5M under cap.
    5. Enter free agency period and let market speak on value of all their UFAs.
    6. Sign Foote for about $1M-1.5M. Leaves at least $0.5M in cap room after displacement. Asking Foote to wait until post June 1 cut of Colon is also a possibility that gives the team additional wiggle room if Foote agrees.
    7. If Lewis can be retained for an average of $5M/year or less, then restructure Brown to clear $3M+, leaving the team at least $3.5M under the cap, which should be enough to cover first year of a Lewis contract. If Lewis is not signed, Cortez Allen starts this year.
    8. Release Colon either pre or post June 1, depending on whether or not Lewis is signed. Either way, team has +/- $5M in cap space post Jun1.
    9. Sign new draft class (maybe requires $3-4M? above displaced league min players), leaving maybe $1-2M in cap space.
    10.At this point the team can do some vet min qualifying contracts, such as for Batch and Will Allen, but other free agents (their own or others) might require additional cap clearing in some manner. Perhaps that happens somewhere along the way with a paycut for vet or two (maybe Troy, Ike, Kiesel?). That could allow the team to sign a couple more low value free agents along the way, such as Breaston. Also, if Lewis were not signed and the team opted to release Colon post June 1, that would leave them with an additional $4.3M in cap room to sign other free agents if desired.

    Under this scenario, there is no restructure for Woodley, leaving the team in a much better contract position to cut him next year if needed. If not, the team still benefits from a lower cap numbers in the remaining years of his contract as compared with restructuring him this offseason. His “reduced” future cap number along with the cuts of Harrison and Colon help to reduce some of the high cap numbers at the top end of the roster moving forward in 2014. That will give the team greater ability to sign more low and mid-level type contracts that constitute deeper and more complete rosters.

  • steeltown

    Could not have put it better myself

    Though I think they need to re-sign Lewis no matter what and if it takes asking Troy and Ike to take a paycut to do it, so be it. Though I think Ben & Brown’s restructurings and the release of Harrison will go along way in locking K.Lewis up

    Should be able to resign Will Allen and Foote for cheap for ONE more season, probably $1.5MIL each, which is approx what they’re paying tendered players

    Not sure if all your figures are correct, but I agree with the plan

  • Pauly S.

    You forgot about the $4.7 million you are going to need for draft picks.

  • Randy Steele

    Thank you. You are correct. I was not aware of the bonus.