There’s a good reason why you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. As it turns out, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in much worse salary cap shape than we originally thought.
For the last several weeks we have been examining potential free agent targets for the Steelers. Those were based on the assumption that they had at least several million dollars of cap room to work with, based on projections from Spotrac.com and Over the Cap.
However, according to a report by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, those sites’ numbers are inaccurate and they’re $2.5 million in the red:
“The Steelers are $2.5 million over their projected salary cap… That is in stark contrast with various public Internet sites that track each NFL team’s salaries.Although those sites that estimate each team’s cap room place the Steelers under the cap by as much as $8 million, those calculations are off.”
Well, this is not good.
Over the Cap currently lists Pittsburgh as having $3.44 million in cap room for 2016 with a projected ceiling of $150 million.
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Meanwhile, Spotrac says the Steelers have $8.17 million in cap room, assuming a $154 million cap.
So, what is to be done? Bouchette suggests a few ideas that would help the situation, including re-structuring the contract of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:
“Roethlisberger has four years left on his contract. The Steelers could take, say, $16 million of his 2016 salary and turn it into a bonus that would then count $4 million annually against the cap for the rest of his contract…”
That sounds like a smart plan, but it still would leave Pittsburgh relatively little wiggle room to build the rest of their roster. The truth of the matter is that they’re probably going to experience some painful salary cap casualties this offseason.
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons, “cornerback” Cortez Allen and safety Mike Mitchell are all potential candidates who may be forced out due to the team’s financial constraints.
In other words? They’d better have a good draft if they want to stay competitive in the AFC race.