Steelers 2014 Salary Cap Situation Heading Into The 2013 Season

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have made their final roster moves we have a much firmer grip on what the 2014 salary cap situation will look like.

As of Sunday, the Steelers have 38 players under contract for 2014 with cap chargers totaling just over $119 million. In addition, they currently have nearly $4.5 million in dead money charges on the 2014 books with most of it coming from the post June 1st release of guard Willie Colon. When you add everything together you will see that the Steelers already have nearly $124 million in cap charges for 2014, and they also need 13 more players to fill out the Rule of 51.

When you add in 13 more players at the minimum, you might as well tack on another $7 million in cap charges, so that brings the grand total to $131 million.

It will be several months until we know what the cap number will be for 2014, but many have projected that it will remain flat. For now, we will go with the assumption that it will come in at $125 million. So essentially the Steelers are already $6 million over that projected number.

While the task of getting the number under control looks daunting right now, the main point of emphasis next offseason will be to extend the contract of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in a way that will reduce his cap charge in 2014. In addition to extending Roethlisberger, the Steelers will also look to extend the contracts of center Maurkice Pouncey, cornerback Cortez Allen and quite possibly even tight end Heath Miller. Baring any of those four players suffering a serious injury in 2013, you have to think those extensions will get done without any issues at some point during the offseason.

Early next offseason, the Steelers will need to address the contracts of safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Ike Taylor, the two elephants that will be in the room that will be entering their final years. This past offseason those two elephants where Colon and linebacker James Harrison and we all know how that turned out.

Should Polamalu return to greatness in 2013 and play in all 16 games, it will be mighty hard to ask him to take a pay cut next offseason. In other words, his play and health in 2013 will dictate whether or not he stays in 2014. It’s hard to imagine that the Steelers would cut him outright, but there might not be any way around it. As blasphemous as it may sound, 2013 could very well be Polamalu’s final year in Pittsburgh.

As far as Taylor goes, they will likely ask him to take a pay cut. How much of a pay cut? Probably around $3-4 million. If he refuses, they will have no choice but to release him as it would save $7 million in much-needed cap space. I know Taylor wants to play out his current contract, and I truly believe he will return in 2014 at a discounted rate.

Will the Steelers have to restructure any contracts next year? It’s really hard to say right now as it could depend on whether or not wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and defensive end Ziggy Hood get extensions worked out over the course of the next week. If Sanders is indeed extended, his contract will likely have second year money that can be turned into a signing bonus through a simply restructure. Outside of him, the bank of Antonio Brown will be open for business as he has a $6 million base salary due to him in 2014 of which $5 million can be easily restructured.

We will revisit this again in a few more weeks, but the plan for next offseason is already set in stone as the Steelers will once again need to trim around $20 million in cap space.

PlayerBase SalaryCap Charge
Ben Roethlisberger$12,100,000$18,895,000
Lamarr Woodley$8,000,000$13,590,000
Ike Taylor$7,000,000$11,942,404
Lawrence Timmons$6,750,000$11,816,250
Troy Polamalu$8,250,000$10,887,500
Heath Miller$6,020,000$9,466,500
Antonio Brown$6,000,000$8,470,000
Levi Brown$6,000,000$6,250,000
Maurkice Pouncey$1,288,375$5,514,000
Steve McLendon$2,425,000$2,983,333
Cameron Heyward$1,289,322$2,133,418
David DeCastro$1,100,354$2,131,063
Jarvis Jones$800,705$1,978,523
Ramon Foster$1,650,000$1,950,000
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$608,288
Landry Jones$495,000$604,805
David Paulson$570,000$581,474
Kelvin Beachum$570,000$581,474
Robert Golden$570,000$571,668
David Snow$570,000$570,000
Will Johnson$570,000$570,000
Antwon Blake$570,000$570,000
Vince Williams$495,000$514,670
Nick Williams$495,000$509,462
Nik Embernate$495,000$497,500
Terence Garvin$495,000$495,000
Brian Arnfelt$495,000$495,000
Derek Moye$495,000$495,000
Hebron Fangupo$495,000$495,000
Isaiah Green$495,000$495,000
Total Under Contract$88,981,009 $131,318,583
Player*Cap Charge
Willie Colon*$4,300,000
Terry Hawthorne*$142,539
Justin Brown*$78,054
Mike Golic*$5,000
Cordian Hagans*$3,334
Chris Hubbard*$3,000
Reggie Dunn*$2,667
Omar Hunter*$2,667
Joe Madsen*$2,000
Curtis McNeal*$2,000
Drew Butler*$1,668
Adrian Robinson*$1,668
Alan Baxter*$1,667
JD Woods*$1,667
Terence Garvin*$1,334
Brian Arnfelt*$1,334
Mike Farrell*$1,334
Luke Ingram*$1,000
Total Dead Money*$4,552,933
Grand Total*$135,871,516

  • steeltown

    I love that you do early projections of next years cap situation. If indeed we are somewhere around $6MIL or even $8MIL over , that is very manageable

    I am not sure we could afford to release Ike Taylor next offseason due to poor depth behind him and C.Allen.. lets hope he takes a paycut if that is indeed the route we take. Regardless, I see us drafting CB in the early-mid Rds next year

  • NW86

    I agree that we will still need Ike next year. Everyone is talking paycut our cut for Ike, but I still lean toward a different approach – an extension that restructures salary into signing bonus, so he still makes a total of $7M next year but his cap hit is lower. The extension years would obviously have to be modest ($4-5M), but I think it’s doable.

  • Mkeller

    There is nothing manageable about the cap situation. Its an utter disgrace that the Steelers were one of the teams that wrongly projected a steeper cap trajectory. The cap #’s for Woodley and Timmons are insane. When you HAVE to extend players to manage your cap you have a problem. The business of football is football. You want to make a decision on a player based on value and performance. Instead the Steelers continue to make decisions based on desperation caused by miscalculation and mismanagement. There’s nothing genius about commuting salary to bonus. Unless running up a credit card you can’t pay off is genius. Colbert and Cowher put together some nice teams and they have SBs to show for it. But even the time came for Chuck Noll and his team to go. We need someone with a less sentimental approach to give this roster and the cap situation a realistic look.

  • Cm K

    Cut Woodley and cut Polamalu. Their pay for production is comical. Throw Jones and Thomas in there. Let the kids play.

  • Black&gold

    Hated the contracts for woodley, Timmons, & colon as soon as they were inked. We overpaid for inferior talent. This would not have happened in the cowher era. Players left & were replaced all the time. To clear the dead money & get out from under these bad contracts will take 5 years. That means no impact free agents & seeing more young talent like Lewis walk in the offseason. Unless we catch lightning in a bottle by drafting multiple players at skill position in the early rounds & having them overachieve (unlikely based on recent drafts), look for sub .500 seasons in the near future. Note: moving Ben solves this, but his cap # as it stands makes this impossible! Troy is the only one in the top 5 who is havin an impact & earning his money this year.

    Great job rooney, Tommlin, & Colbert!
    Maybe season ticket prices will be reduced due to the product tha is in display………. Lmfao.

  • Kraig Todd

    I would cut Woodley first yes he will cost us 14 million but this year alone. He will count that against us now. That will free up money for 2015 where contracts could bubble. This is what I mean restructure Ben’s contract so that his cap hit this year is lower then inflate it next year when Woodley’s money clears. ben’s contract would be a restructure extension something they will do any way. Troy and Ike are next. I would try resigning them to cap friendly contracts with pay cuts for at least 2 years if not cut Ike and keep Troy still giving him an extension somewhere around 9 mil a year. Levi Brown and Larry Foote release them. Heath Miller could be talked to about a pay cut as well. Clark and keisel could be possible 1 yr contracts for minimum as well. Worilds sign him to a contract extension low this year with bubble next. Draft WR,CB,TE,CB,DE,OL(yes 2CBs) Ike’s pay cut could put him back with troy.