Why the Steelers can and should sign Richard Sherman

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro (66) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

As of now, the Steelers can’t afford Sherman but we could make some moves.

Pittsburgh dug themselves into a hole kicking cap space down the road the last few seasons. However, to sign a player who was voted All-Pro just two seasons ago, it may very well be worth it. There are a few bigger cap hits the Steelers could dissipate with an extension and restructure that could free up the space required. The biggest variable is whether the players involved agree to the contracts.

There are two players the Steelers would have to restructure to make this happen. They are Joe Haden and David Decastro.  They come in as the 2nd, and 4th highest cap hits on the team. I can’t give exact numbers for what the cap hit would be, but I can get pretty close. I will keep the base salary for everyone involved at $1 million in cap space as I don’t know for sure what the minimum base salary will be in 3 years.

Joe Haden

Haden’s future could be cloudy past 2021, yet a restructure with an extension of 1 or 2 years could clear a decent amount of cap. For Haden, I would sign a 2-year extension while converting as much salary as possible into the signing bonus and spreading over 2021, 2022, and 2023. His current cap hit is over $15 million and $8 million is a dead cap hit.

So the Steelers could sign him to the extension, adding another 3 million and convert roughly 6 million of his current base salary to a signing bonus. Haden would get all of his money aside from a base salary of around 1 million a year this season. However, the Steelers could bring the 2021 cap hit down by approximately $3 million. The downside is he would account for $7 million against the cap in each of the next two seasons, and if he retires or is released, All $14 million that would have been split between 2022 and 2023 would count against the cap in 2022.

David DeCastro

DeCastro has taken a step back in his career up to this point, but at 31 and in a more run-heavy scheme the Steelers can hold onto him longer. Run-blocking tends to be an easier thing to accomplish as a lineman. He accounts for a little over $14 million in cap and only about $5.5 million of it is dead cap.

I would sign DeCastro to a 3-year extension adding $8 million to his current deal. I would convert as much as possible into the signing bonus – giving DeCastro roughly $12 million upfront. He’d have around $1 million a year in base salary, but the move will spread out $16 million across 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024. In doing this, the Steelers would save roughly $5 million in cap this season. This carries the same downside as Haden’s deal would. Yet, at 31 years old DeCastro could be good to go for at least next season.