Enormous 2024 salary cap increase could aid Steelers in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes

The Steelers are officially out of the salary cap hole, and they finally have some ammunition to work with this offseason.

Tost by Tostitos, Kirk Cousins
Tost by Tostitos, Kirk Cousins / Jesse Grant/GettyImages

Football fans have been anxiously awaiting for the official salary cap number to come in for the 2024 season, and that time has arrived. We knew that the cap was going to increase (as it does every year), but the official salary cap number has fans picking their jaws up off the floor. This unexpected number is terrific for a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On February 23rd, CBS Sports Insider Jonathan Jones broke the news that the 2024 salary cap will hit a record-breaking $255.4 million this year.

This is an increase of just over $30 million from the 2023 season -- the biggest jump in salary cap percentage in NFL history. Shockingly, this number wound up coming in $13 million over the projected 2024 salary cap number from Over the Cap.

The substantial increase in salary cap space means a few things. For starters, the cap is directly influenced by NFL revenue. Unsurprisingly, the league turned an outstanding profit this year, and that was reflected in the record-breaking cap increase.

This also means that coveted free agents and star players due for new contracts will make more than previous estimates anticipated. While the cap increase is good for all 32 teams, it might have come at a less-than-ideal time for those who are set to hand out massive contracts to superstar players (like the Cowboys with Dak Prescott).

For the Steelers, this historic salary cap increase couldn't come at a better time. Prior to this official cap number of $255.4 million being released, Pittsburgh was expected to still be in the salary cap hole and they would have had to make more roster cuts just to become cap-compliant before the start of the new league year.

Suddenly, they are not only in positive money, but they also have over $7.38 million to work with, according to updated numbers from Over the Cap. This comes before plenty of other roster moves (like releasing Allen Robinson II to free up an additional $10 million).

Steelers now have the salary cap ammunition to go after Kirk Cousins

For a team that had some finagling to do when it came to contracts this offseason, this suddenly increases their chances of being able to land a top-flight free agent like QB Kirk Cousins. Every football fan is interested to see where Cousins winds up, and we could soon find out when the free agency tampering period opens up on March 11th.

The significant salary cap increase means that Cousins is going to get paid more than expected, and with every team having more cap space, it's possible that there could be a bidding war for his services. Even with this, the Steelers now have a chance to get in on the action if they choose.

Before the $30 million increase in the salary cap this year, Pittsburgh was barely keeping its head above water when it came to finances. Now they can throw a bunch of money at Cousins on a back-loaded deal knowing that they will have a ton of salary cap space to work with in 2025.

Steelers fans can be glad that this 2024 salary cap increase instantly vaulted this team out of the salary cap hole and will give Omar Khan and Andy Weidl more firepower to make a splash move in free agency. If they are willing to, Pittsburgh can now get in on the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes that is sure to take place early in free agency.