3 most costly Steelers offensive players in 2022 are quite surprising

Derek Watt #44 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)
Derek Watt #44 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Ben Roethlisberger: $10.3 million in dead money

This one stings a little. Not only was Ben Roethlisberger’s performance in 2021 remarkably underwhelming, now we have to deal with the consequences of his bad contract. Like they did with Smith-Schuster, the Steelers restructured Ben’s contract to add voidable years to spread out his 2021 cap hit.

This made this number more reasonable last year, but now the Steelers will be forced to eat $10.34 million in dead cap money this year. Assuming they take that on all at once, they won’t owe anything beyond this season — which is good. However, that’s an awfully big chunk of money they could have spent on a quality free agent this offseason.

This invisible dead money hit is very comparable to Minkah Fitzpatrick’s cap number for the 2022 season and is larger than the cap hit of Diontae Johnson, Najee Harris, Chase Claypool, and Pat Feiermuth combined this year. Not exactly money well-spent.

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In future years, the cost of Steelers offensive players should more or less line up with the players who are deserving, but it’s not fun to think that the Steelers are forking up this much of their cap space for two players who are no longer with the team and one who rarely contributes on offense.