Steelers 2014 Salary Cap – An Early Look Ahead

Now that we are less than a week away from the Pittsburgh Steelers reporting to training camp, it is a perfect time to look ahead at the 2014 salary cap situation of the team.

Heading into training camp, the Steelers have 46 players currently under contract for 2014 that total $123,359,713 in cap chargers. In addition to that, there is also a $4.3 dead money charge on the books for 2014, which is a result of guard Willie Colon being designated a post June 1 release earlier in the offseason. In total, the Steelers currently have a 2014 cap number of $127,659,713, which of course exceeds the early projected 2014 league cap number of $125 million.

Depending on what happens as far as extensions go this year during training camp with defensive end Ziggy Hood and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the total amount on the books for 2014 could jump up another $8 million or so, depending on how those two contracts are structured. What is important to keep in mind is that both of those contracts, if they get done, should be able to be restructured next offseason, should the Steelers need some cap space.

While the Steelers currently have 46 players under contract for 2014, that number will shrink by about 10 or so come the final roster cut down date in September, and with those cuts will come more minuscule dead money for 2014. We will update the totals below right before the start of the 2013 season.

As I pointed out in previous post, you can expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will get his contract extended next offseason which should drop his 2014 cap charge some in the process. Other players who might be extended next offseason include center Maurkice Pouncey, tight end Heath Miller and cornerback Cortez Allen. Extending both Pouncey and Miller should drop the cap charge of each in 2014 as nearly $2 million of what Pouncey is set to earn in 2014 comes in the form of a roster bonus which can easily be rolled into a signing bonus of his extension.

As far as the restructures for 2014 go, look for wide receiver Antonio Brown to have a good portion of his $6 million base salary turned into a signing bonus, and the bank of Lawrence Timmons will once again be open for another restructure if needed. No, the Steelers will not restructure LaMarr Woodley next offseason and whether or not Timmons is or not depends on if they have exhausted other means for needed space.

The two elephants in the room next offseason will be safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Ike Taylor as both have cap chargers in 2014 in excess of $10 million. As long as both stay healthy in 2013, it\’s hard seeing either becoming salary cap casualties next offseason. Taylor, however, could be asked to take a cut in his base salary in order to stay in an effort to free up a little more cap space. Being as the jury is still out on Curtis Brown and the other young cornerbacks currently on the roster, the Steelers might not have a choice but to let Taylor play out the final year of his contract as it is currently structured.

Next February, I expect the Steelers to be somewhere around $10 million over the cap should the extensions get done with both Hood and Sanders over the course of the next few weeks. That $10 million or so overage can be worked down easily with players being locked up long-term in the process. Essentially, it is not as bad as everyone thought it would be, but you can\’t ever seem to get that through the heads of the doomers and the gloomers and others that simply don\’t understand how the cap works.

July 2013 Look At Steelers 2014 Salary Cap Situation

PlayerBaseCap Charge
Ben Roethlisberger$12,100,000$18,895,000
Lamarr Woodley$8,000,000$13,590,000
Lawrence Timmons$6,750,000$11,816,250
Troy Polamalu$8,250,000$10,887,500
Ike Taylor$7,000,000$10,454,168
Antonio Brown$6,000,000$8,470,000
Heath Miller$6,020,000$7,966,500
Maurkice Pouncey$1,288,375$4,639,000
Steve McLendon$2,425,000$2,983,333
Cameron Heyward$1,289,322$2,133,418
David DeCastro$1,100,354$2,131,063
Ramon Foster$1,650,000$2,050,000
Jarvis Jones$800,705$1,978,523
Larry Foote$1,500,000$1,833,333
Bruce Gradkowski$1,550,000$1,833,333
Shaun Suisham$1,425,000$1,762,500
William Gay$1,500,000$1,666,666
Matt Spaeth$900,000$1,037,500
Marcus Gilbert$815,103$1,026,905
Mike Adams$712,150$966,450
Le\’Veon Bell$495,000$936,500
Curtis Brown$645,000$775,300
Cortez Allen$645,000$742,875
Sean Spence$590,000$726,345
Chris Carter$645,000$685,700
Markus Wheaton$515,000$662,844
Shamarko Thomas$495,000$608,287
Landry Jones$495,000$604,805
Kelvin Beachum$570,000$581,474
David Paulson$570,000$581,474
Drew Butler$570,000$571,668
Adrian Robinson$570,000$571,668
Robert Golden$570,000$571,668
Will Johnson$570,000$570,000
Terry Hawthorne$495,000$542,513
Justin Brown$495,000$521,018
Vince Williams$495,000$514,670
Nicholas Williams$495,000$509,462
Peter Tuitupou$495,000$495,000
Joe Long$495,000$495,000
Justin Cheadle$495,000$495,000
Hebron Fangupo$495,000$495,000
Isaiah Green$495,000$495,000
Derek Moye$495,000$495,000
Kashif Moore$495,000$495,000
Nigel Malone$495,000$495,000
Roster Totals$84,961,009 $123,359,713
Dead Money
Willie Colon$0$4,300,000
Dead Money Totals$0 $4,300,000
Grand Total$84,961,009 $127,659,713

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Dave. Thanks for posting this. What would you say the possibility is of Polamalu taking a pay cut in 2014 as well?

  • SteelersDepot

    I would be surprised, but really it all depends on how many games he plays this year.

  • woundedvet

    I would not give a new contract to Hood or Sanders before they show in this training camp to be starter material. Sometimes a guy starts only because we have noone else who knows the playbook enough for that position. So we kept Colon that long, Mundy (not starter but kept too long) now Hood. Hood needs to start to be able to hold his ground, before I would want to be stuck with mediocrity at a position by signing him to a multi year next contract.

  • NW86

    I do agree that it depends on his health this year, but disagree on the likelihood. Unless he plays 14+games and plays like his old self, I think it’s likely that he either takes a pay cut or gets cut (“retires”). This would basically immediately solve the salary cap problem, without pushing money into 2015 like the other moves would.

  • Reader783

    I heard somewhere that we were about $4 million under and I was running through all the possibilities of contracts we could dump into this year; alas Dave had to perform the reality check.

  • Nolrog

    I hope they don’t start the restructure game with Brown next year. That was fine when they needed to keep the SB team together, but now they need to get to the point where they aren’t continually pushing money into the future; that has to be paid at some point.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Although I count myself among the ‘doomers and gloomers’ regarding the cap, I’ll admit situation is not that bad going in to next year. The key going forward is doing contracts at the right numbers.

  • Pat Lopez

    The top seven contracts for the Steelers take up over $81 million in cap space for 2014, leaving the Steelers with 35 percent of the cap to spend on the other players on the roster for the 2014 season.

    The numbers listed above are for 46 players. However, the top 51 salaries count against the cap. That should be an extra 2,500,000 to your salary cap numbers

    The reports I read have the 2014 cap between $121,000,000-$125,000,000. The Steelers are $5,000,000-$9,000,000 over the cap right now.


    1) they need to sign their 2014 draft picks.

    2) They may want to resign Jason Worilds, Ryan Clark, Jerricho Cotchery, Emmanuel Sanders, Z. Hood, Brett Keisel, Issac Redman, David Johnson, Jonathan Dwyer, etc..

    3) They may want to sign UFA from other teams.

    Don’t count on #2 or #3.

    The 2013 Steelers are the same 8-8 team of 2012 minus James Harrison, Keenan Lewis, Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall, Will Allen, Willie Colon, Casey Hampton, and Max Starks. They added Gay, Gradkowski and Spaeth and their draft picks. That is not a winning formula.

    They kept on restructuring contracts and it has finally caught up with them. However, they probably will restructure contracts again in 2014. The Steelers future will keep looking worse as long as they keep restructuring contracts. Look how well Woodley played after they restructured his contract. However, they restructured his contract again in 2013. The Steelers rewarded his poor performance. So don’t count on him playing much better in 2013. They can’t cut him this year. He has $19,760,000 of dead money in 2013 and $14,170,000 in 2014. They need to pay the piper and quit borrowing $$ from their future.