Steelers 2017 Salary Cap: Projected Space Entering Second Phase Of FA

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been fairly quiet when it comes to the 2017 free agent signing period as they’ve only re-signed two of their own and one outside player since the new league year got underway on March 9. At this point, even if the Steelers do manage to sign a few more outside free agents moving forward, those players aren’t likely to command huge salaries as the lot has been picked over fairly well as of right now. With it now looking like the bulk of the Steelers free agency signings are done, it’s time once again to look at the team’s 2017 salary cap situation.

Below is an up-to-date projection as to where the Steelers currently sit salary cap wise on March 19 and it includes the re-signings of quarterback Landry Jones and tight end David Johnson in addition to wide receiver Justin Hunter, formerly of the Buffalo Bills. While Hunter’s one-year contract numbers have yet to be reported to the NFLPA, it’s not very hard to guess what his deal might ultimately look like and thus consider his numbers below to be my own projection.

As of Sunday morning, the Steelers have 77 players under contract officially and 78 if you count Hunter. According to the NFLPA, the Steelers currently have $19,854,218 in available salary cap space pending the signing of Hunter. My projection, that includes Hunter, results in the Steelers having $19,549,218 in available salary cap space.

In short, my difference of $305,000 from the NFLPA number can be easily explained and thankfully it is a nice round number. First, the Hunter contract speculated displacement accounts for the $155,000 of that difference. Second, it appears as though the NFLPA is not currently including the 2017 base salary of wide receiver Martavis Bryant in their numbers and that’s likely because he’s yet to be reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell. As you can see, I included Bryant in my projections below along with Hunter’s.

Now, while the Steelers currently have more than $19 million in available salary cap space at their disposal, it’s important to remember to think ahead about future charges that await the team and those projected amounts are detailed near the bottom of the table and will surely not be exact. In short, the Steelers essentially have roughly $11 million in real available salary cap space as we sit here on March 19.

With the bulk of free agency now out of the way and with roughly $11 million in future available salary cap space at the Steelers disposal, you can count on some of it being eaten up by defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who I have stated several times is expected to receive a contract extension later on in the summer. The same could go for tackle Alejandro Villanueva even though he’s an exclusive rights free agent this year.

On the safe side, an extension for Tuitt will likely wind up eating up roughly $5 million of the Steelers available remaining salary cap space and especially if he signs a contract similar to the one fellow defensive end Cameron Heyward inked a few years ago.

As for a possible contract extension for Villanueva, it’s hard to project how much additional salary cap space will be used on him, but if pressed to make guess, I would speculate $3 million at that very most if he ultimately signs a new deal.

If my speculation winds up being correct, extensions for Tuitt and Villanueva would eat up roughly $8 million of available salary cap space and thus leave the Steelers with roughly $3 million to spend. But wait, there’s more offseason business that needs to be handled.

Now, the Steelers hope to work out a long-term contract extension with running back Le’Veon Bell between now and July 15, the deadline for them to do so after placing the franchise tag on him ahead of the start of the league year. When and if that extension ultimately happens, one would think Bell’s 2017 salary cap charge would go down some. By how much, however, is unknown and it will be interesting to see if the Steelers give him a good portion of his first-year money in base salary as opposed to a signing bonus in order to decrease future dead money liability due to his injury history and the position that he plays. I know that’s the way I would attack his extension as we sit here in middle of March if at all possible.

Ben Roethlisberger$12,000,000$18,200,000
Antonio Brown$910,000$13,618,334
Le’Veon Bell (FRANCHISE TAG)$12,120,000$12,120,000
Maurkice Pouncey$7,500,000$11,051,000
David DeCastro$6,750,000$11,050,000
Cameron Heyward$5,000,000$10,400,000
Mike Mitchell$5,000,000$8,135,416
Marcus Gilbert$4,000,000$7,308,500
Ladarius Green$5,000,000$6,187,500
Ramon Foster$2,675,000$3,591,666
Ryan Shazier$1,716,438$3,025,020
Arthur Moats$2,250,000$2,883,334
William Gay$2,000,000$2,633,333
Bud Dupree$1,273,390$2,515,169
Vince Williams$2,000,000$2,500,000
Landry Jones$1,900,000$2,200,000
Artie Burns$885,954$2,179,769
James Harrison$1,200,000$1,950,000
Robert Golden$1,465,000$1,881,666
Chris Hubbard (RFA TENDER)$1,797,000$1,797,000
Ross Cockrell (RFA TENDER)$1,797,000$1,797,000
Stephon Tuitt$1,048,560$1,466,641
Darrius Heyward-Bey$1,200,000$1,333,333
Senquez Golson$798,732$1,091,194
David Johnson$900,000$1,017,500
Sean Davis$635,771$928,856
Sammie Coates$615,000$797,379
Martavis Bryant$690,000$793,346
Javon Hargrave$560,000$733,314
Daniel McCullers$690,000$709,670
Greg Warren$1,000,000$695,000
Justin Hunter (Projected)$775,000$695,000
Steven Johnson$775,000$695,000
Fitzgerald Toussaint (ERFA TENDER)$690,000$690,000
Zach Mettenberger$690,000$690,000
Jesse James$615,000$667,228
L.T. Walton$615,000$644,232
Alejandro Villanueva (ERFA TENDER)$615,000$615,000
Anthony Chickillo (ERFA TENDER)$615,000$615,000
Chris Boswell (ERFA TENDER)$615,000$615,000
Greg Ducre$615,000$615,000
Jordan Berry$615,000$615,000
L.J. Fort$615,000$615,000
Roosevelt Nix (ERFA TENDER)$615,000$615,000
Jerald Hawkins$465,000$597,622
Tyler Matakevich$540,000$555,763
Eli Rogers$540,000$541,668
Al-Hajj Shabazz$540,000$540,000
B.J. Finney (ERFA TENDER)$540,000$540,000
Brian Mihalik$540,000$540,000
Cobi Hamilton (ERFA TENDER)$540,000$540,000
DeMarcus Ayers$540,000$540,000
Jordan Dangerfield (ERFA TENDER)$540,000$540,000
Keavon Milton$540,000$540,000
Brandon Dixon$540,000$540,000
Trey Williams$540,000$540,000
Xavier Grimble (ERFA TENDER)$540,000$540,000
Akil Blount$465,000$465,000
A.J. Hughes$465,000$465,000
Canaan Severin$465,000$467,666
Brandon Brown-Dukes$465,000$465,000
Devonte Johnson$465,000$465,000
Dez Stewart$465,000$465,000
Dreamius Smith$465,000$465,000
Farrington Huguenin$465,000$465,000
Gus Johnson$465,000$465,000
Jacob Hagan$465,000$465,000
Jason Fanaika$465,000$465,000
Johnny Maxey$465,000$465,000
Kameron Canaday$465,000$465,000
Kyle Friend$465,000$465,000
Lavon Hooks$465,000$465,000
Matt Feiler$465,000$465,000
Marcus Tucker$465,000$465,000
Mike Hilton$465,000$465,000
Mike Matthews$465,000$465,000
Roy Philon$465,000$465,000
Ryan Malleck$465,000$465,000
Projected Top 51 Under Contract$148,835,119
Shaun Suisham*$2,206,000
Ryan Harris*$337,500
Travis Feeney*$75,267
Demarcus Ayers*$59,739
Jordan Zumwalt*$26,213
Giorgio Newberry*$6,667
Devaunte Sigler*$5,334
Tyriq McCord*$4,667
Will Monday*$3,334
Quinton Schooley*$2,667
Johnny Maxey*$2,000
David Reeves*$1,334
Brandon Brown-Dukes*$1,000
Marcus Tucker*$1,000
Projected Dead Money Total$2,732,722
Projected Rule Of 51 Total$151,567,841
Projected Draft Pick Signing Bonus Displacement$1,433,277
Projected Practice Squad Players$1,224,000
Projected Final Cap Loan Repayment$1,000,000
Projected 52nd & 53rd Players$930,000
Projected Workout Bonuses$500,000
Projected Allocated In-Season Cap Space$3,500,000
2016 Salary Cap Rollover$3,269,367
2016 Salary Cap Credit 3/10$847,692
2017 NFL Salary Cap As Of 3/2017$167,000,000
Projected 2017 Salary Cap Space As Of 3/19/2017$19,549,218
Projected Expendable 2017 Salary Cap Space As Of 3/19/2017$10,961,941

Data credit to: NFLPA, Over the Cap, Joel Corry, Aaron Wilson