Now that the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is over, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert will return to the Southside to finish up his job of getting the team salary cap compliant by March 11, the start of the new league year.
When you look back at the way the 2013 offseason transpired, this week is when we quite possibly could hear about a few contract restructures taking place. Last year the combine wrapped up on February 26th and by the 28th the Steelers had restructured the contracts of linebacker Lawrence Timmons, wide receiver Antonio Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the team cleared over $14 million in cap space by doing so. They would later restructure the contract of linebacker LaMarr Woodley right at the start of the new league year to clear another $4 million in salary cap space.
This week, we are expecting to hear that Brown has restructured his contract once again and quite possibly Timmons as well. Full restructures for both would clear $8 million in salary cap space and they are the only two real candidates to have that done this offseason.
Beyond those two restructures, there is a chance that we hear about a contract reduction or two with cornerback Ike Taylor being the primary subject matter. Taylor is scheduled to earn a base salary in 2014 of $7 million and the Steelers most likely would prefer that number be cut in half. However, when former nose tackle Casey Hampton agreed to have his contract reduced back in 2012, that news did not surface until mid March.
As far as possible extensions for Roethlisberger and a few other younger players go, Colbert said in an interview prior to leaving for the combine that those would likely happen during the summer if any are done at all. So I wouldn’t expect to hear about any of those this week.
As for as contract terminations go, we could possibly start hearing about those starting this week. However, last year, the contract terminations of linebacker James Harrison and guard Willie Colon happened just a few days before the start of the new league year.
This year, tackle Levi Brown is a prime candidate to have his contract terminated as it will save the Steelers $6.25 million in cap space. The only other real candidate for a March termination would be Taylor, but that’s only if he doesn’t accept a contract reduction.
Between now and the start of the new league year, the Steelers should be able to clear roughly $17 million in salary cap space if things play out like I think they will. As of today, the Steelers are reportedly $6,748,066 over the cap based on a $132 million cap number. In les than two weeks, they quite possibly be $10 million or more under depending on where the league sets the final league-wide cap number at.