The 2013 season is now over for the Pittsburgh Steelers so it is now time to look ahead to the 2014 salary cap situation as we head into the offseason. I will be breaking this down even more in future writings, but I will outline a few things here for you that I expect to take place.
For starters, the Steelers currently have 43 players under contract for 2014 and the total of those current cap charges is roughly a little more than $131,300,00. The Steelers also have $4,552,933 in dead money charges for 2014 and that brings the total up to nearly $136,000,000.
The early projections have the 2014 salary cap number at $126.3 million, so based on that number, the team is roughly $9.7 million over the cap with eight players needed to round out the Rule of 51. We will budget in a round number of $4 million for those eight players, so now we are at $13.7 million over.
The Steelers will be able to roll over roughly $1,352,450 in leftover cap space from 2013, so that puts us at roughly $ 12.348 million over the cap with 51 spots filled. We will get into more exact numbers as the futures contracts come in, but this will be close enough for now.
Now, the Steelers will surely release Levi Brown at some point, so that will clear $6.25 million in cap space minus the cost of the player that replaces him in the top 51. That move alone puts the team roughly $6.09 million over the cap.
The Steelers will of course need to trim that $6.09 million plus a lot more in order to sign a few of their own unrestricted free agents and here are some things that you can count on taking place.
For starters, an extension for Ben Roethlisberger will likely take place at some point during the offseason and that should clear roughly $4 million in cap space for 2014 if things go as I expect that they will. I also expect that Heath Miller will be extended and that should clear another $2.5 million in cap space at a minimum.
At some point during the offseason, I expect that Antonio Brown will have his contract restructured and that move will clear roughly another $3.9 million in cap space for 2014. While many won't like it, I expect that Lawrence Timmons will again have his contract restructured and that move will clear an additional $3.9 million in cap space.
I fully expect that Larry Foote to be released at some point during the offseason and the team could decide to make him a post June 1st cut. While they would have to carry his full $1,833,333 cap hit until that date, they would then save $1.5 million in cap space for 2014 and only have a dead money charge of $333,334 in 2015 as a result.
I have a feeling that Ike Taylor will be back next season, but definitely not at the $7 million base salary he is scheduled to earn. This is real tricky as Taylor has the leverage right now being as the team lacks depth on the roster. Through whatever means necessary, I see a $3 million cap savings taking place.
We will get into this later, but safety Troy Polamalu, as expected, will be the giant elephant in the room and tough to deal with during the offseason. It's tough to go to a Pro Bowler and ask him to take a pay cut. The team sure could use him back in 2014, so we will have to see how those talks go. As I sit here right now, I have a feeling that his contract will be left alone.
Finally, if the team is able to re-sign Jason Worilds right away, they might have to part ways with LaMarr Woodley as a June 1st cap cut. However, I think there's an outside chance that they can keep both of them as long as Worilds doesn't get an outrageous offer should he make it to free agency.
In this rough outline, I have cleared roughly $25 million in cap space and I did so via two extensions, two restructures, two releases and one salary reduction. I have left Polamalu's contract alone and haven't released Woodley. Should Woodley ultimately wind up being a June 1st release, that will free up $8 million in cap space for 2014, but not until that date rolls around.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a lot more coming on not only the 2014 cap situation, but possible contract for a few of the unrestricted free agents as well.
|Player||Base Salary||Cap Charge|
|Total Under Contract||$88,981,009||$131,318,583|
|Total Dead Money||*||$4,552,933|