The Pittsburgh Steelers made the decision on Sunday to match the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet that restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed with the New England Patriots and here is a look at the salary cap situation as it stands right now.
Heading into Sunday, the Steelers had $1,919,760.00 in cap space at their disposal and when you factor in the additional $1.177 million used to match the Sanders offer sheet, it leaves them with just $742,760 in available cap space.
The Steelers will gain roughly an additional $5.02 million in cap space after displacement on June 2nd when the release of guard Willie Colon becomes official, and that will put them roughly $5,762,760 under the cap if no moves take place between now and then.
The Steelers will at that time need roughly $1.5 million of that cap space after displacement to sign all of their draft picks, assuming they stay put with their currently scheduled eight picks.
Should the Steelers decide that they want to sign any free agents between now and June, the displacement process will only allow for a few low priced players at the minimum. Signing any higher priced players will result in the in the Steelers either terminating a contract or two, extending a player or two, or doing a restructure on a player such as Ike Taylor, Heath Miller, or Troy Polamalu. Going the restructure route would push even more potential dead money into 2014, however.
While they could try to extend Sanders, it would be tough, and I will recap those roadblocks in my next post.