As we sit here today, the Steelers are a hair over 22 million dollars over the NFL's regulated cap ceiling, according to Spotrac. They will need to at least shed that amount of money to get under that cap. They will have plenty more work ahead of them if they truly wish to attack free agency like they have in prior years. The good news is that there are plenty of clear paths ahead of them to get there.
Cap casualties that are currently employed by the Steelers will likely get cut within the next couple of months leading up to free agency. That alone will probably open up a significant amount of money that Pittsburgh can use on outside free agents. Another option will be going to big-time players with huge contracts and requesting them to restructure their contracts.
Alex Highsmith could be first up on restructuring his contract this offseason
Alex Highsmith just recently got his big contract, and it seems time for the black and gold to come to him and ask to restructure his money. He might not have had the best statistical season this past campaign, but he was able to make significant contributions. For one reason or another, Highsmith was mostly held off the stat sheet, but he was able to make a significant impact on the field.
According to Spotrac's website, the Steelers could save a little over seven million dollars by having this restructure put into place. That is significant as it immediately puts the Steelers closer to the cap ceiling, even though they will still have plenty of work to do. Doing a restructuring like this does not mean a pay cut or anything of the sort, but it allocates his money elsewhere.
This move also doesn't have anything to do with the performance of Highsmith either. He played well this year and is worth the current deal that he is on. He should have a better statistical season next time around. A great move here by Omar Khan if he decides to do so. It immediately takes you under the cap ceiling with plenty of other options to make even more spending cash.