Knowing that they have no legitimate left tackles on their current roster, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to trade for tackle Levi Brown, who hasn't gotten of to great start this season with the Arizona Cardinals.
Brown, a former first-round draft pick who sat out all of last season with a triceps injury, has allowed four sacks, six quarterback hits and eight hurries in his first four games of the 2013. The Penn State product has been a good run blocker so far this season, however, and the hope is that his pass protection will still be an upgrade over what they are currently getting out of second-year tackle Mike Adams.
Trading for Brown has more upside than downside as long as the compensation was not outrageous. As of right now, all reports indicate the Steelers gave up a conditional draft pick. What those conditions are, we do not know.
Brown is under contract through the 2016 season, but being as he was acquired via a trade, he has no guaranteed money attached to his contract. The Steelers are likely to restructure his 2013 base salary upon trading for him and by doing so that will create roughly $1,972,500 in potential dead money should he not work out. If they don't restructure his 2013 salary, all that's at risk is a conditional draft pick.
In other words, should Brown need to be released after the season is over, the Steelers will more than likely designate him a post June 1 release and they will be charged roughly $657,500 in dead money in 2014 and $1,315,000 in dead money in 2015.
Should Brown wind up playing well and be deemed a future starter, the Steelers will need to find a way to accommodate his $6 million base salary that he is scheduled to earn in 2014. At that time, they could decide to restructure a good portion of that as well.
The Steelers obviously aren't ready to give up on the 2013 season and Brown is essentially, or should I say, potentially, a $1,972,500 risk that they felt they had to take in order to save their season.