Why The Suggestion By Ian Rapoport To Restructure The Contract Of Troy Polamalu Is A Bad Idea

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggested to a Twitter follower on Monday that the Pittsburgh Steelers could restructure the contract of safety Troy Polamalu in order to be able to afford former Denver Broncos defensive end/linebacker Elvis Dumervil.

It is sad to see such a flip answer such as that from Rapport, as it gives fans false hope. Sure, the Steelers have the ability to restructure Polamalu\’s contract, but it certainly wouldn\’t be a sound business decision.

Polamalu is scheduled to earn a base salary of $7.5 million in 2013 and his cap charge is scheduled to be $10,137,500. If the Steelers were to turn $6.5 million of his base salary into a signing bonus, it would lower his 2013 cap by $3.25 million. It would also, however, create another $3.25 million of potential dead money in 2014 by doing so.

Polamalu already has $2,637,500 worth of bonus proration on the books for 2014, his final year under contract. Adding another $3.25 million to it would bring the total to $5,887,500 and his 2014 cap number would then jump up to $14,137,500.

Polamalu will turn 32 years of age in April and has only played in all 16 regular season games twice in the last seven seasons. While the Steelers are certainly hoping that he can play out his current contract, there are no guarantees that he will based on his injury history. We can only take it year-to-year with him.

In short, the Steelers need to leave the cap number of Polamalu alone. They don\’t need $3.25 million worth of cap space that bad.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    So this is unmentionable why? It’s such a bad decision to defer 3.25 mil until next year that you would be better off without Elvis than you would with him? Maybe we should just bag next season and get our cap in order. I hear you get extra points from the blogosphere.

  • Jason White

    Because should the Steelers be forced to part ways with Troy in 2014 they will take a much larger cap hit and with a flat cap in 2014 they just can’t take that kind of hit.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Or what?

    We are talking about deciding if we do or do not want a difference maker at a position of need because of an extra 3.25 in possible dead money in 2014?

  • Jason White

    And what happens in 2014 when you can’t afford to pay Dumervil’s salary when you possibly have a larger dead money hit eating up potential cap space that was created just to bring him on board. You just don’t restructure a guy’s contract when he has a history of injury and is on the wrong side of 30.

  • Tom

    To heck with a restructure, just release him now.

    I know, he is the only SS on the roster….

    But, he sure as heck can’t be counted on playing 16 games, so you have to get a back up in place who is “ready to play” anyway.

  • LucasY59

    The Steelers have already pushed enough $ back to 2014, they will be in the same situation next year where someone will have to be cut or a FA will go somewhere else because they can’t afford them (and they can’t bring in any big FA’s, but they don’t do that anyway) I am hoping this is the last year where they restructure so many contracts, the salary cap has really been a handicap the last 2-3 years (this year especially) they need to quit putting themselves in the same situation year after year

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Then we probably have a bad year.

    Why have the bad year in 2013 only because you are afraid of possibly having a bad year in 2014.

    What you don’t do is make cute little rules and absolutes about how you handle contracts or to justify your decisions. The bottom line is do you defer 3.25 for Elvis or not. I would.

  • JT

    But somebody still needs to be your starting SS. Looking at who is still out there:

    Quintin Mikell: 33 and useless in coverage
    Bernard Pollard: bad coverage skills. Only good for injuring Patriots (an admirable trait, I’ll admit)
    Gerald Sensabaugh: doesn’t make plays either, but he’s a solid veteran who provides depth at both position.

    Will Allen: A solid stopgap, but nothing more.

    And that’s it for “top” players out there. The Steelers needed to have a plan in place long ago to make such a drastic change on defense. It’s too late. They’re married to Troy for this season, at least.

  • JT

    Jason is a second round pick. You have to believe in him until he proves he’s a bust. You need to trust your draft picks and not spend big money on proven commodities.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    If there is merit to the Steelers considering some of these free agents they are linked to, then there must be a plan to do something about Polamalu’s contract. My guess is that they will force a pay cut. There have been a lot of pay cuts around the league this year and the Steelers have to look at the guys on their roster who they may not expect to produce to their contract and do the same. We may not have other safeties on the roster, but who expects to get much more than half the season out of #43. You can’t pay him $7m when your expectations for his performance are so diminished. Huff, Woodson, and Reed are just a few of the safeties out there that will get less than half of what Polamalu is making this year. Adrian Wilson only got $5m for 3 yrs.

    Guys like Polamalu (or maybe it is the Steeler’s front office) have to understand the flat cap changed the market and his contract must be adjusted to remain competitive. A restructure is not something that can be considered for a second and I don’t think paying him $7m this year is a good plan, either.

  • Superdriller316

    Ok, say you do restructure Troy. You push that money to next year. You still don’t have enough to sign Elvis and he goes elsewhere. Troy gets hurt again next year and gets cut. We are in a world of hurt with dead money and we still don’t have Elvis.

    We don’t have the cap space and the FO isn’t going to mortgage the future for any FA. We don’t go after big name FA. They picked Farrior up for like 2 million. Their not going to go after an 8 million a year guy that will be 30 next year.

    This idea is as dumb as drafting someone with a HEART ISSUE in the first round at #17. Your better off bringing Harrison back for 3 million.

  • Tom

    In week 2, when he pulls up lame….gimps off the field with a pulled
    muscle and misses 8 games, perhaps your view will change. At this point in his career, that’s exactly what I expect. Stop gap or not, I’d rather see Will Allen resigned and start.

  • sean mcmartin

    That might have been the thinking when it was Rod Woodson..and we know how that turned out. keep Troy he is one guy worth gambling on.

  • Woodson (Charles, not Rod) would be an interesting stopgap for 1-2 yrs until they can groom a replacement.

  • Jollyrob68

    Ask him for a paycut. He may do it because he makes enough in endorsements.

  • Jollyrob68

    Michael Huff is available unless he was signed while I was at work. Tom Z was released by Indy could be a good backup or stop gap for Clark if the cut him. Bret Keisel’s Replacement is on the team Cam Heyward.
    There’s money to be recovered. What happened to the Massacre? They still have options.

  • hergieburbur

    And the Steelers have built their success on doing exactly what you are advocating, right? Oh wait, no, it’s exactly the opposite. They are hurting now because of poor drafting and cap issues. You don’t compound that by signing expensive FAs.

  • zyzak

    Troy doesn’t need to take a pay cut. He just needs to play 16 games like he did in 2011. The Steelers are in good shape regarding dead money for next season. No sense getting into dead money hell like Dallas and Oakland

  • SteelSpine

    Restructure the salary of Ian Rapaport whoever the heck that is.

    Injured players have us over the barrel because past draftpicks groomed to be eventual replacements didn’t pan out. Too many examples:
    – Remember Anthony Smith? He shouldof been the next Clark but didn’t pan out.
    – Mundy was groomed & shoulda stepped in for Polo now but lacks tackling instincts.
    – We’d like to have the next Keisel ready now to step in instead of milk more years outta the slowed Keisel, but Heywood is a question mark so we must have Keisel. Not knocking Heywood but we should get more impact outta 1st rd picks, question marks can be gotten in the 7th rd so we can get impact outta 1st rounders,
    – Ditto it’s why we have to keep re-signing the slowed Foote. Sylvester was groomed but then didn’t pan out
    – Do we really need to go over why we were desperate to get Harrison back last year after he was halfway healed & why this offseason we hoped he woulda accepted a paycut to come back?

  • Tom

    Facts: In the last 4 years….

    Troy has missed 22 of 64 regular season games due to injury. And played ineffectively in how many others, due to the injuries?

    Has had one season in which he had more than 3 interceptions

    Has forced one fumble

    Has made more than 63 tackles once.

    His performance simply does not match his pay. It’s not even close.

    I am OK with asking him to take a pay cut…but only if the team is prepared to move on without him, if he declines. Pay cut would need to be in the 50% range, which he very well might feel insulted by.

  • Ahmad

    Yeah no way Troy gets a restructured deal anymore. I just hope he has two years left in the tank because I’m not ready to see him go yet.

  • steeltown

    I’ll agree Mundy and Sylvestor were average at best..and did not pan out. I’ll reserve judgement on Cam Heyward for now as Keisel has been playing the majority of the snaps and looking good doing it. The Harrison issue at the start of last season wouldve been a none issue had Worilds not been out with injury as well missing all of the offseason recovering from wrist surgery, instead they relied on Chris Carter who was not impressive… I’m still not so sure about Carter, atleast Worilds has been productive when on the field

  • Dan

    I feel like we are NOT in good shape with dead money and potential dead money next year, so certainly agree that we do not restructure. And I agree that he should not be asked for take a paycut this year. When he is healthy he is worth every penny of $7.5 mil, but if the injury bug bites this year we need to really think about how to proceed. I don’t want to pay $8+mil salary in 2014 for somebody with a high probability of missing a lot of games. Even if he does well this year, we probably want to consider a renegotiation or some other cap relief next year. So definately don’t add dead money to Troy’s cap column in ’14.

  • Pete

    The Steelers will try to draft Polamalu’s successor either in this draft or the next. I agree that it doesn’t make any sense to add more dead money. Dave, I think the Rapoport comment is a testament to how well you know cap math and how little most commentators know about the actual workings of cap charges.

  • SteelSpine

    I agree with you on all that.

  • uglybagofwater

    Well-put. I hate to say it, but Troy has been an albatross around this team’s neck.

  • uglybagofwater

    Polamalu’s contract made it pretty much impossible to have a replacement plan in place for him. Had they drafted a top safety “long ago,” we would be watching that young player sign a big contract elsewhere today.