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
|Dead Money Totals||$0||$4,300,000|