The 2014 league year begins at 4:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday and thanks to several transactions over the course of the last few weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers will enter the start of free agency with more than $7.5 million in salary cap space to work with.
While $7.5 million might not seem like a whole lot, you have remember that several players currently at the bottom of their top 51 are earning minimum salaries and thus those amounts will also figure into displacement as players are signed moving forward.
While the Steelers were able to get veteran cornerback Ike Taylor to take a big pay-cut on Monday, they still could use another experienced free agent cornerback on the roster. While they won’t overspend to do so, they are in a position to make a run at Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner, Miami’s Nolan Carroll and Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn.
Should they choose not to go the free agent cornerback route, the Steelers at the very least should be able to re-sign a few of their own key unrestricted free agents they wish to keep without any issues and this includes defensive linemen Ziggy Hood and Al Woods. In addition, veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery should be an easy target as well.
With the release of linebacker LaMarr Woodley expected to be made official on Tuesday, the Steelers could certainly use an experienced outside linebacker to backup both Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones. However, unless they’re any surprise cuts on Tuesday, they’re unlikely to be able to fill that need with big name player.
The release of Woodley will eventually clear nearly $8 million in salary cap space after displacement come June 1 and that will be more than enough room to sign the 2014 draft class. In addition, getting the contract of Worilds extended at some point during the offseason should also clear a few more million. All of that combined means the Steelers should have more than enough room to extend the contracts of cornerback Cortez Allen, defensive end Cameron Heyward, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Maurkice Pouncey at some point during the offseason, should that indeed be their intent.