Categorized | 2014 Salary Cap, Article

The Salary Cap And The Fear Of Letting Go


By Matthew Marczi

Anybody who follows the Pittsburgh Steelers with any degree of depth is well aware of the fact that they have had salary cap issues for several seasons now, which is generally the territory every team with a franchise quarterback will eventually face.

This is not necessarily a major obstacle for a team disciplined upon the notion of growing a team from within, primarily utilizing the draft to construct a roster and only supplementing the fringes via free agency.

Previously, the Steelers were far less likely to bring a home-grown player into their third, or even second contracts, preferring instead to have someone ready and groomed, waiting to take over. Such was the case with countless players, such as Alan Faneca, Joey Porter, and Yancey Thigpen—although the latter wasn’t a Steelers draft pick.

That mindset kind of changed, understandably, when the Steelers started winning Super Bowls. After all, if a roster is good enough to achieve the zenith of your sport, then it’s probably a good idea to try to keep that roster intact.

As a result, many players that were a staple of that Super Bowl success have seen their playing careers in Pittsburgh extend into their third contracts, while other younger players that in years past may have been deemed too pricy to keep relative to the drop in performance of a replacement have cashed in with the Steelers.

So it’s no surprise that, according to the NFL Salary Cap specialist website Over the Cap, the Steelers have the highest amount of money in the league tied up in their top five most highly compensated players.

That is, of course, relative to their 2014 salary cap hit. According to their data, the top five cap hits the team is currently wrestling with amounts to a total of $67, 131,154, which, as mentioned, is the most in the NFL.

That is significantly more than the average, which comes out to just a bit over $50,000,000 and is just one of seven teams exceeding the $60,000,000 mark, which is nearly half the total salary cap limit.

The Steelers also rank fourth overall when considering the top three and top four salary cap hits. Thus, it’s interesting to consider that their books jump up to first when we continue to expand the numbers, suggesting that, while they may not have the utmost premium contracts, they do have a higher quantity of significantly elevated contracts.

So let’s take a look at those top five cap hits. Naturally, it starts with the franchise quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, whose $18,895,000 cap hit consumes the lion’s share of the previously stated figure. This is a perfect illustration of what having a franchise quarterback does to a successful team’s cap budget.

The only team in the top 10 when considering the three largest cap hits that doesn’t have a franchise quarterback—or more accurately a quarterback paid a franchise-caliber salary—is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When considering the five largest contracts, the New York Jets also jump into the top 10, but overall, the same principle applies.

Beyond the franchise quarterback are two highly experienced veterans in their third contracts, Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu. The sixth-largest cap hit is Heath Miller. These are players—with the possible exception of Polamalu, though Rod Woodson’s example is a cautionary tale—that likely would not have been given third contracts in Pittsburgh in years past.

And it’s also largely why the Steelers are now annually facing salary cap concerns. In short, it’s expensive to keep together a championship-caliber roster. But it’s even scarier to let a championship-caliber roster go, even while knowing that many of those players will not be able to play out the tail end of their third contracts with much bang for the buck.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steeltown

    Perfectly stated. They started winning championships again and they paid to keep that roster together, nearly won a 3rd Lombardi inside a decade thus we are where we are.. the sky is not falling though, every season we get closer and closer to pulling ourselves out of it. Soon most of the veterans with high priced backend deals will be gone. Yes, there will be others with large contracts, like Ben, Timmons, Heyward and Pouncey but they will be justified and for the most part they will be paid out to players in their prime not on the decline

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I will go ahead and say it. Extending Polamalu and Miller at big salaries is not a sound business practice. They are still “effective” but they do not justify the dollars they’re getting paid. Even Ike (my favorite Steeler) must take a salary cut or he has to go.

    I believe that we as fans (and the front office) fall in love with the Troy and Heath of years past and do not see their diminished performance on the field like some other unbiased evaluators do. The same thing happened with Aaron Smith and Casey Hampton and even Farrior/Foote to some degree.

    This is the reason we are in salary cap hell. Paying too much money for aging veterans. Then we can’t afford to keep guys like Keenan Lewis or Jason Worilds and we end up having no depth. It has got to stop.

  • steeltown

    I don’t see Troy getting a big extension, but im sure Miller is in there plans, maybe 2-3yr extension I would assume. He’s still only 31yrs old, he has some productive yrs left in him. Three of the top five TE’s in the League last season (Gonzalez, Gates, Witten) are in their 30′s or well into their 30′s

  • James Kling

    Totally agree with this. Barring injury, and really that’s been the only thing to keep Heeeeaaaaathhhhh! from being a consistent all-around receiving and blocking TE has been injuries, he should be a vital cog for at least 2-3 years. I’d even go 4, frankly.
    I think the time to groom Troy’s replacement is here, though. Shamarko may never be a Polamalu, but Iike the kid, think he’s got some cover skills that need to get up to NFL speed but he has a whole lot of nasty in his game that should come out year 2. Add in a FS who can be as versatile as Clark (I like the idea that both S can interchange roles as needed), and some top CB talent, and the secondary will be on the way back up.

  • Jason Chadwell

    It’s interesting to see the Seahawks will play Sunday with no player having experience in the big game where the steelers still have several players for Super Bowl 40

  • steeltown

    Indeed, we definitely need another Safety no doubt, but CB talent is also a glaring issue, Ike and WillieG will not be around forever and outside of Cortez Allen and possibly Antwon Blake we don’t have much in the way of quality CB depth

  • mlc43

    I agree with you most every time you post something. I agree with you this time as well, with one exception. I’ve been debating the Pouncey thing. We’ve got a year to decide but I seriously doubt his production will be worth the cost to sign him.

  • Jason Chadwell

    Not sure the CB talent is their at 15. However we should know for sure in the next couple of months

  • Douglas Andrews

    It will be interesting to see what come out of the Ike and Troy situation. Ike’s gotta take a pay cut to reduce that number based on his output from this season. Troy was pretty solid this year playing in all of the defensive snaps this season but his number needs to be reduced as well. I can’t blame the Steelers for wanting to keep this team together they won multiple SB’s just don’t want to see another good talent sacrificed for some of the veterans ( Keenan Lewis left but Ike retained) and possibly this year Woodley remains and Worilds leaves.

  • Chad H

    Steelers went to two more SBs and won 1 more following that SB with a lot of the same players so I’m not sure what your point is. We are now at the point where we are bring in younger guys to hopefully get back one more time with our current franchise QB.

  • Jason Chadwell

    No, I agree it was worth keeping the core players together for the reasons you mentioned.

  • walter mason

    Yes it must stop. Aging veterans need to take pay cuts.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    But that is the point. The AMOUNT they’re getting paid. I’ll tell you where price tags are not rising. Early round rookie TE’s. They are very affordable and are proving to be highly effective (Jordan Cameron, Jordan Reed, Vance McDonald, etc)

    If you cut Miller and draft ASJ or Feidorowicz, you save may $5 million, without much drop off, and you get a player who’s trending up rather than down.

    Even your statement that Miller still “has some productive yrs left in him” indicates his skills are declining. Those are the types of guys you pay $2 million per year. Not $6 million per year.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    You made some good points but lost all credits when you said ike was your favorite steeler

  • dgh57

    I have a feeling Mike Munchak will have plenty to say about Pouncey’s production after year one!

  • Jeff

    Great read…. There’s nobody close to adequately covering the Steelers like Steelers Depot…. If you don’t believe me, go check out ESPN’s section on the Steelers with Scott Brown – it’s a joke

  • Hoptown

    Part of issue is not just the salaries in the contract these players signed, but the fact the Steelers have been re-working the contracts to push money to future years, making the 2014 cap numbers large.

  • cencalsteeler

    Though your comments may not be popular with the fan base, it is the reality of our current situation. I agree that Polamalu, Taylor, Miller and Foote have peaked and their performances are starting to decline. This is a business and unfortunately, letting guys walk that have become fan favorites is never a popular task. We have tried to keep our Super Bowl team intact for one more run, and we got close, but to no avail. It is time to get younger. The stat of having one of the oldest defenses is not a plaque we want to display on the wall behind our desks. It is time to move on the way we did with Hines. Yes, it will be a sad day for us when it happens, but in the end, it will be better for the team.

  • Chad H

    Cool, just wasn’t sure the point you were making. Hopefully this draft will get us the guys we need to get back.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You’re right, that is indeed part of the issue. The front office understood that this is a situation they would be facing for years until the cap makes a leap; that is, perpetually pushing money forward in order to stay afloat for one more year until the ‘market’ catches up. But that’s the price of admission for a highly successful and talented roster of players in their second and third contracts. Teams like the Seahawks will be experiencing this in a couple years as well as their team experiences success and their core players are weened off their minuscule rookie contracts.

  • Steve

    Everyone has favorite players, there is nothing wrong with what that. I have said here many times my favorite player was James Harrison when he played for the Steelers. Ike is a workout warrior that has lost some steps.

  • steeltown

    No player drafted could be compared to or claim to be as good as Miller is and has been. I get your point, Jordan Cameron is a beast, but that’s one guy out of many. Vance McDonald had 8 receptions last season. Its not as easy as release a probowler and draft someone to fix a problem. Im all for drafting another stud TE but again Miller is only 31yrs old. I’d rather have both.

  • Steve

    Steelers aren’t the only team pushing money into the future. Look at Tony Romo’s numbers LOL.

  • steeltown

    I find it curious that most people say Miller is on the decline when he just had the best season of his career in 2012 before being injured, he’s only 31yrs old and besides Gronk and Graham most of the top TEs are in their 30′s some in mid-late 30′s, even Vernon Davis is turning 30 in a few days

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    But we’re not talking about how good Miller “has been” we’re talking about good Miller “will be”. We’re talking about what salary he will be worth in his fading years, post ACL surgery. (Just like Aaron Smith.)

    Heath’s speed has diminished noticeably. His once sure hands are dropping a lot more balls. If you haven’t noticed that from watching the games then you’re not being honest.

    Your claim that no player drafted could be compared or claim to be as good as Miller shows how emotional you are about this.

    There are guys coming out of college this year who are MUCH faster than Heath. That is a fact.

    There are guys coming out of college this year that are just as strong as Heath. That is a fact.

    To say they can never be as good as Heath when they haven’t even played a down is ridiculous.

    Take a look at the game tape on ASJ and Feidorowicz and notice how well they block. Heath in his prime was better. But not current Heath.

  • steeltown

    You comparing college players to Miller, enough said

    Again, I’d like to draft another stud TE, but I do not want to enter the season with Spaeth, a rookie TE and Paulson

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    None of us “want” to enter the season without Heath. But his salary cap figure next year is $9.46 million. There is no way his current skill set is worth that kind of money.

    If you cut him, and then he wants to re-sign for one or two years at $2 million per year, great. But extending him at $6 million/yr at this stage of his career is not smart.

    If you’re going to do that, let’s extend Ryan Clark and Ike Taylor as well. Because they used to be elite players too.

  • steeltown

    Keisel, Clark, Taylor, Foote, yes these guys are declining and shouldn’t be paid top dollar.. washing your hands of player like Miller at the age of 31yrs is not smart IMO

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Listen to yourself, dude… You’re talking about 2012. BEFORE his injury. I’m talking about the present. Now. AFTER his injury.

    Lamar Woodley never missed many games his first 4 years. NOW he’s injured all the time. Maybe we should extend Woodley to a 6 year deal because he used to be a pro bowler BEFORE his injuries?

  • steeltown

    What are you talking about? what does Woodley have to do with anything??? Just saying he hasn’t shown decline, he has actually shown improvement

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I’ll tell you what is not smart IMO. Paying Miller $9.46 million.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    You’re talking about Miller now as if he’s the “2011 Miller” who never got hurt. That Miller is gone.

    I was comparing that to the “2009 Woodley” who never got hurt. That Woodley is gone.

    It’s called an analogy.

  • steeltown

    I agree. That’s because of the restructurings, his avg salary would be somewhere around $6.5MIL… and extension would help solve that

  • steeltown

    So you’re basing everything off of the injury? Because his number show no decline, he nearly had 60rec and 600yds after major injury and missing 2games

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Right now it looks like the true value for CB’s will be in the 2nd-3rd round range.

    Dennard and Gilbert are rated as first rounders.

    But you can probably get Jean Baptiste, Fuller, Roby, Roberson, Gaines, McGill etc., all in the second round or later. And they are comparable talent wise.

  • Jollyrob68

    Lewis wasn’t sacrificed He went Home to New Orleans. However I agree that we can’t keep aging vets while sacrificing youth.
    They need to continue to let their rookies play and need to draft a DB who can start asap.

  • Jollyrob68

    The sad thing is Defensive players like Sherman & Chancellor were on the board and the Steelers chose not to draft them. I was screaming for then to draft them.

  • John

    A Key Factor that the Steelers need to focus on which they previously have missed on is signing aging veteran free agents from outside the organization to one or two year contracts at relatively discounted prices and getting legit performance for a year or two. We have had a couple former Steelers come back but otherwise we have not had much. Getting a key pick-up here and there (without suffering a prior injury) can significantly assist us in bridging the gap. In other sports, veterans want to play for a ring or for a quality organization and take a discount. We did get Cotchery which was a big help. We also tried with LSH. But the defense has had nothing and thus has seriously been undercut.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    James was a beast at his position albeit no a smart one but he was feared by qbs on the other hand qbs be feeding off ike esp on third downs personally i would have cut ike and kept k.lewis

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Jordan Cameron (a rookie) just caught 80 receptions for 917 yards and 7 touchdowns. His salary = $447,000.

    Greg Olsen (28 years old) just caught 73 receptions for 816 yards and 6 touchdowns. His salary = $3 million.

    Tony Gonzales is way older than Heath (37), yet he’s more productive 83 receptions for 859 yards and 8 touchdowns. His salary $3.5 million.

    This last year Heath had 58 receptions for 593 yards and 1 touchdown. And you want to pay him big bucks?

    I’m not trying to attack you personally. I just think your emotional feelings about Heath are getting in the way of your math on this one.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Hopefully one day you’ll be as loyal to the Steelers as Ike is.
    Hopefully one day you’ll work as hard at your job as Ike does at his.
    Hopefully one day you’ll meet Ike in person (like I have) and understand why he is my favorite.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    And just for the record, the expression is “lost all credibility” not “lost all credits”. It sounds like your playing an arcade game.

  • James Kling

    SSB, that is becoming my thinking as well. I think you always have to look at the dropoff in talent from round to round: how big a difference is it from Dennard and Gilbert to Fuller, SJB, Roby, Desir, etc.? Which player and position has the greatest dropoff? Definitely think we need a serious investment at CB, but R2-3 may be prime value. And frankly, maybe a second guy around R5 for depth and development, like Colvin, Benwikere, or someone who fell through the cracks…

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Thank you! This is a huge point that gets lost in the shuffle. The Ravens and Patriots are both very savvy at squeezing out “one more good year” from these aging free agent vets.

    Rather than extend our own old guys for 4 more years, rolling the signing bonus out, we could just bring in a outside vet for 1 year at a minimum and many times get a near production.

    A classic example is Flozell Adams. Everybody said he was washed up. We sign him to a 1 year deal and ride him to the Super Bowl.

  • James Kling

    Interesting discussion. I can see both sides of it, and honestly, there’s no easy answer. I think we’re almost forced to restructure Heath because we need to use the draft to fill holes. (Drafting a second TE like Ebron would not be the same thing – it would be basically like drafting another WR to put into the mix with Heath.)

    I think we can free some cap elsewhere, even if we do pay more for production vs. others. That said, vets will ALWAYS be more cost-intensive than rooks; Olsen had never racked up >800 yards prior to 2012; and someone who’s at the end of his career will almost certainly get a shorter, smaller deal.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Agreed. I think Aaron Colvin (CB) (Oklahoma) is exactly the type of guy you’re talking about.

    He’s a 2nd-3rd round talent. Just tore his ACL at the senior bowl. Will probably drop to the 5th-6th round.

    We could get 2 starting CBs by spending a 2nd and a 6th round pick. Plus we still have Cortez Allen.

  • steeltown

    Well Cameron of course is in his low rookie contract, but you can bet he’ll be one of the highest at his position soon enough. Gonzalez signed a 2yr $14MIL deal before last season and Olsens numbers aren’t correct, maybe after restructuring, but his 2014 cap hit will be nearly $8MIL

    Miller’s TDs were down, presumably because of Cotchery, but Millers other numbers were good when factoring what we’ve already discussed regarding the injury and missing training camp and the first two games etc.

    Again we obviously differ on this, but getting rid of Miller will weaken the team IMO im not saying sign him to a 5yr deal (like Dallas did with Witten) but a 2-3yr extension would not only help the cap but give ample time to find a replacement

  • James Kling

    Fuller, Colvin, and Cortez would be a nice CB ensemble moving forward. Throw in a safety like Dion Bailey R3, and I think that’s a nice Band-Aid for the secondary.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Matthew, you are asking the wrong questions. If you think about the big picture, you can’t worry about letting some high priced talent leave. You have to envision which can help you win or compete for championships. Let me explain.

    Are the Steelers going to win the Super Bowl next year? Anything is possible, but you would have to say no. Okay, so let’s go with the premiss that the Steelers can win within 2-3 years. Or at least compete for a Super Bowl.

    Next you have to ask yourself, which of the high priced talent will still be playing at a good enough level to contribute to the next Super Bowl. If Troy is able to play actual safety where he flourished in his younger years making some incredible INT’s, then he could help. Conversely, Ike might no longer be able to cover anyone in a couple of years. These are examples of course. So why is this important?

    Well the Steelers of old knew how important it was and started offloading guys before they peaked in performance. If you think Ike or Woodley will not contribute to the next Super Bowl, then you are wasting your time and money by overpaying them now. How so? Well, getting rid of just 1 of these big contracts can result in getting perhaps 2 or 3 other players. And these will be players that have a chance to contribute to the next 5 year run of playing for Lombardi’s. Seriously!

    Without the burden of just 1 of these contracts means you can afford an extra rookie, plus someone like Wallace and Dwyer and also a low priced free agent for depth. Maybe you get lucky and the guy turns into a starter as well.

    You see where I’m going, right? So I say the Steelers definitely need to get guys to take cuts in pay if they expect to be part of the next Super Bowl attempt, otherwise they need to leave. And with the savings in cap room, you have to make sure you sign the next waive of guys.

    so what question should you be asking? Your next article should be entitled, “Which High-Priced Veterans Need to Go?”

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Well stated, CenCal. It’s a terribly unpopular position. How do you tell a guy who has given his blood sweat and tears to the organization that he’s not “worth” the money anymore? Especially when he can still play? Just not to his past level?

    The other issue with keeping these vets too long is that you can’t give the young stars the reps they need to progress. It’s a tricky balance.

  • James Kling

    I know a lot of people liked Chancellor, but Sherman was sort of an unknown…

  • Douglas Andrews

    Agree he wanted to play for his hometown and why not it’s a once in a lifetime tihing for a NFL player but I can’t help but wonder what he would have done if we dangled 5-6 million at Him. I like the idea of playing the rookies now at least we can see what we have right now and lock them up before they play themselves out of the pittsburgh market

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Excellent post, Bullion.

    With today’s salary cap rules you can’t compete for the Lombardi every single year. You have to look at “windows”. You have to unload some aging vets BEFORE they’re done to field a more complete championship roster.

    Our old window is now closed. But a new window is not that far off. We just need to give Ben enough weapons. And maintain a defense that can hold its own around the top 10 ranking.

    As I wrote in a past post, if I were GM, I would extend Ben. Cut Heath, Troy, Ike. Sign Jarius Byrd (FS). Then draft a top CB and TE. I know that sounds extreme right now. But in 2 years we would be right there in the Super Bowl mix.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    That was me. Loved/Wanted Chancellor. Didn’t really think Sherman was fast enough.

  • NW86

    I think the point was just the fact that the Steelers played the Seahawks in SB40. The Steelers have several players still on the roster from that season, while the Seahawks have zero. It’s just an interesting illustration of how much turnover many NFL teams have.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I certainly wouldn’t mind more Nick Eason-type players. I will say that their FA offensive linemen they brought in last year turned out for the better.

  • NW86

    Yep, and everyone else on the Cowboys roster for that matter. As well as many other Franchise QB’s like Brees, Flacco, Stafford, etc. All those players have some ridiculous cap hits penciled in for future years.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I do see what you’re saying, though with all due respect, I wasn’t asking any questions, nor seeking to provide answers, but rather trying to explain how and why we currently are where we are. I certainly don’t disagree with what you’re saying, however, and I appreciate you taking the time to read this and providing a thoughtful response, touching on a topic that I’m sure will be addressed on this site at some point during this long offseason.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Yup. You’re going in the right direction, but Byrd wants top $$$ and the Steelers can’t afford that even if they get rid of a couple of guys. Meanwhile Heath might still be good for a few years, although that is debatable.

  • Steeler4Life

    I think the reason we are in salary cap prison is because of Ben, but let me explain.

    Matt, thanks for reminding everyone about the old Steelers philosophy of letting veterans go. Ten years ago the Steelers were touted as a model of salary cap discipline. But that was because the Steelers lacked a franchise QB.

    After drafting Ben, I think the Rooneys realized that they have about a 10-year window to win as many Super Bowls as they can. Thus, it became important to re-sign proven veterans. Abandoning salary cap discipline was a conscious decision. After Bradshaw retired, the Steelers discovered how hard it is to win a Super Bowl without a franchise QB, even with great defenses and a powerful running game.

    We nearing the end of that 10-year window and the salary cap is catching up. Ben still has several years in him and hopefully the Steelers can manage the cap to keep enough talent around him. But I think when it becomes clear that Ben is at the end of his career (or if they decide to part ways), we are going to see a real salary cap purge. And then we will exercise salary cap discipline again… until we get another elite QB.

  • James Kling

    I had some brief notes to myself from that draft. We didn’t know at that time whether Keenan Lewis was going to amount to anything, and I noted that Sherman had nice size like Lewis but speed was a question – was it worth it to draft Sherman before we saw what we had in Lewis?
    Right now, I’d be happy with Sherman OR Lewis!

  • cencalsteeler

    I admire and sport the 83 on Sundays but, IMO, Miller is on the decline. He is still a very serviceable tight end, but not elite. You and I follow this site religiously, and you must admit, this season a lot of articles were written showing the missed blocking or bad blocking assignments by Heath.
    Now, like I stated, Heath is still a serviceable tight end, but it is time to reboot. If we don’t, the problem we have currently with our secondary will soon haunt us at the tight end position.

  • cencalsteeler

    True. See Ryan Clark.

  • WIINGY

    I’m not sure Heath was 100%
    Either way something needs done. Players are not meant to see the back end of their contracts. That’s why their agents fight for guaranteed money.

  • Nolrog

    I don’t think either would get a big salary. If Troy is extended, the intention would be to lessen next year’s cap hit without asking for a pay cut.

  • Louis

    The Steelers philosophy of stopping the run 1st, getting to the QB 2nd, and covering receivers a distant 3rd has to change. Take a look, 2 of the NFL’s top 5 receivers are in the AFC North. AJ Green and Josh Gordon are entering their primes and Ike Taylor cannot stop them by himself anymore. They’re getting better and he’s getting older. If Gilbert is there, taking him at 15 will be the biggest no brainer in the history of no brainers.

  • DrakePirate

    none of those guys are getting big contracts including Miller … he will and deservingly so get a bit above avg … thats it !

  • DrakePirate

    hes not getting extended anywhere near 6 million a year .. he’s got 2 solid years left … thats it .. and will get paid very avg for it !

  • DrakePirate

    I disagree … all 3 of the top TEs we would see very little drop off … yes there is a learning curve … and i agree with u i would rather have both for a couple years but it wouldn’t be much of a drop off !

  • DrakePirate

    I think you are on target and that is exactly what the FO should do … I’m fine for 3 mil/yr for the next 2 yrs … and retire a steeler … a 3rd or 4th year possible if he’s still playing capably

  • DrakePirate

    I’m on SSS side on this one … the FO has all the leverage and should use it !

  • DrakePirate

    Very true … and one of the most important aspects of the salary cap going forward !

  • DrakePirate

    hes on the decline … lets face it … at best he reproduces this years numbers the next 2 years thats it … after 30 there is a HUGE drop off for like 90% of players … and he had an injury and is slow as molasses now … so yes I’m all for cutting him and bringing him back at 2-3 mil year … and that is exactly what should happen if the FO has half a brain ! dont get me wrong ..i want him back, but not at 9mil or 6 mil or even 5 mil !

  • DrakePirate

    i agree. he is more than serviceable, but is definitely on the decline … but lets get 2-3 more good years out of him and get new tEs for him to mentor at a reasonable cost

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I think that is a fair range ($2.5 million-ish). Perhaps we could give him some incentive bonuses. If he produces more, pay him more. Everyone wins.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Ideally we could keep Miller as our inline TE the next year or so, and then draft a receiving TE threat like Ebron or Amaro to split out. That would draw coverage away and make Heath more effective.

    When Heath retires we can have Spaeth (or someone like that) fill the gap until we develop another blocking TE.

    And I agree that any of (Ebron, Amaro, ASJ) can and will put up very good receiving numbers their first year. And after a couple years be even better.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    It will be very interesting to see what Troy decides. I don’t get the feeling he’s willing to take a substantial pay cut. Maybe he is willing to do a performance based extension?

    On the other hand I feel fairly certain Ike will take a pay cut. As he should. He can still be a very solid #3 CB IMO. But he needs to be paid like one.

  • DrakePirate

    u hit the nail on the head … i hope this is the way the FO is thinking as well !

  • DrakePirate

    i like that idea !

  • steeltown

    Well, he’s always been slow as molasses, and as I mentioned when it comes to the TE position (and the QB position) 30yrs old is not the end of everything. If you look at the top 10 TEs in the League probably 7 of them are 30+… if they cut him a Team will come in and scoop him FAST

    I am all for drafting another TE, but we need to lock up Miller another 2yrs (or add 2yrs to his existing deal) so we have ample time to replace him

  • ATL96STEELER

    Well said…I don’t mind the reward those guys got…and this cap task was always lying ahead…having Ben kept our expectations high…the one I’m sure Colbert regrets is restructuring Woodley.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Production when playing has never really been in question…playing starter type snaps has been his issue…Friendly fire got him this time, but I think he’ll have to prove he can stay on the field to get a large FA anywhere.

  • steeltown

    No doubt.. absolutely no doubt.. they restructured him multiple times but the one im sure they really regret is this last one in March 2013.. I cant believe they didn’t find another way to clear cap space other then to restructure a guy who had just missed 9games the previous two yrs

    Think of it this way, adding the 5 games he missed this past season, he has basically nearly missed an entire seasons worth of games (14) in the last 3yrs…. terrible

  • ATL96STEELER

    Extending the right way makes some sense I think…Troy is not a $10 mil cap hit player, everyone knows that I think…but is he a $3 mil cap hit for the next 2 yrs with maybe $5 mil guaranteed? I think so.

    Miller…I think he has 2 more seasons left at a minimum…if they can lower his cap hit I don’t see a big problem there.

    To your point of it having to stop…imo the championships were worth extending Aaron, Casey, Farrior, Troy, Ward, Ike, etc. and a team with the class of PIT rewarded them…it did hurt to lose Lewis, but I have no problem with it.

    They clearly mis-stepped with Woodley, I’m thinking this had more effect on losing Lewis…I don’t expect you’re going to see the FO extending big 2nd contracts to upcoming FA unless they have earned it such as A. Brown., maybe DeCastro, or Bell in a view years

  • Steve

    Seahawks did the same as Baltimore did this year, they purged their team of aging vets after SB40 and went young. Steelers like to keep a mix of old and young and bring the kids up Gently.

  • DrakePirate

    i agree we need him for another 2 years, but i doubt another team is going to offer him anywhere near 5-6 mil a year … and lets not forget i am 100% sure that Heath wants to retire a steeler and that he would take a major pay cut !

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