Steelers Finally Under the Cap, Slightly

By Ed Bouchette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 7 years ago

Good morning,

The NFL and the NFL Players Association are set to announce the salary cap for each team in 2016 reportedly will be 155.27 million. That is $12 million more than it was in 2015.

Keep in mind that each team’s various salary cap space will be adjusted by their carryover space from 2015 – the amount they did not use last season.

The NFLPA recently released figures that showed the Steelers had a carryover of $3 million from last year. However, sources have told the Post-Gazette that the Steelers also “borrowed” $3 million from their 2016 cap, so that is a wash.

While you may see others estimate that the Steelers cap is around $158 million because of their announced $3 million unused 2015 cap, it will stay around $155 million because they borrowed that $3 million.

Before Heath Miller retired, we reported the Steelers were $2.5 million over the salary cap as they projected it to be $153 million per team. Others had them way under the cap. We can assure you, that $2.5 million was right on the money.  Not counting Miller, their new cap thus would put them right around even or slightly over because of that extra $2.27 million per team.

Take away Miller’s $4 million salary and add the $450,000 the next player up on the 51-man roster that only counts during the offseason, and you have an additional savings of $3,550,000 from Miller’s retirement.

Therefore, counting the new cap figure and Miller’s retirement, the Steelers should be about $3.2 million or so under the 2016 salary cap.

They will have to create more room to sign free agents – others and their own – and they can do that by restructuring some (Ben Roethlisberger) and extending others (David DeCastro).

Onto your Ask Ed questions:

--- YOU: Can't Combine interviews be supplemented with the 30 permitted interviews when collegians are brought in before the draft?? In other words, if they meet with a kid in Indy, i.e. Vernon Butler, that doesn't mean he can't be brought in as part of the "30," right?

ED: Yes, a player can be interviewed by a team in Indianapolis and then brought in as one of those 30 interviews at that same team’s facility.

--- YOU: For the last decade or so, the Steelers have basically spent right up to the cap ceiling. The cap began in 1994, and my gut feeling is that the Steelers weren't maxing out the cap during the first decade (approximately) of cap existence. What data or recollection do you have of that time period? Have the Steelers always basically maxed out the cap, or were they regularly, noteworthily under the cap in those early cap years? I'm not asking about restructuring tendencies, simply about spending close to the cap ceiling or not.

ED: My recollection is the Steelers almost always spent right up to the salary cap, leaving $1 million or so in reserve in case they needed more room as the season progressed and they had to sign players to replace those injured, etc.

--- YOU: I have a question, there's been talk from some people who actually would want the Steelers to cut L.Timmons, am I missing something? I guess most of it is salary related but... I think he is still a solid player, & if you cut him, who do you replace him w/? I like V.Williams, but if he were to become the full time starter next to R.Shazier, then we have no backup (I know we could draft a MLB). To me, Timmons is the least of our problems.

ED: The Steelers will not cut Timmons. They might try to extend his contract, which expires after 2016, which would reduce his $8 million salary for this season and thus his overall salary cap hit. They also could try to merely ask him to take a pay cut.