Ever since the debacle in Denver, here at BTSC there have been many discussions over what the Steelers had to do with its aging defensive front 7, its sub-par performing offense, and the omni-present speculation about our secondary.
Much was written about how we needed to just get beyond "...the next couple of years" salary cap wise, then the Steelers would be in Nirvana with the new television contract revenues inflating the Salary cap to a level that would give the Steelers far more flexibility in terms of personnel decisions.
Poasters posted all sorts of upbeat comments about how smart and effective the F.O. was being in re-structuring the large contracts of Roethlisberger, Harrison, Woodley etc. to get the Steelers under the current cap, "...for just another year or two until the Big Money comes rolling in".
I, and a few others, were a little more sceptical. In particular, I commented several times over whether such restructuring was not only delaying the inevitable hard decisions, but also mortgaging the future for the now.
Numerous fellow BTSC poasters, many with more in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the NFL than I, confidently, and politely, admonished me for doubting the savvy of Omar Kahn and Kevin Colbert, and brushed off my concerns over how the Steelers should not construct their "budget" for the next few years based on the projected infusion of Big Money into the salary cap because of the new television contract.
Well, as much as it pains me to say it....I told you so.
Although the cap numbers for 2013, 2014 and 2015 still can be negotiated, projections point to very little increase. The cap may rise by only $300,000 in 2013, going to around $120.9 million. Even though increased network television money is coming in 2014, the cap is projected to go only into the $121-plus million range.
And before you retaliate with comments about the veracity of anything you hear on ESPN, please note that our own SB Nation is quoting the same information, as is Mac's Football Blog which published a quote from Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots who is sounding words of caution:
"I don't really see that happening," Kraft said of a significant cap spike in 2014 according to Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston. "I don't think what happened in 2006 will happen in the future here, because if you understand the labor agreement and the long-term part of this, there will be a smooth growth."
"Anyone who assumes huge jumps, I hope they're in our division," Kraft added.
So while we all continue to look forward to the upcoming draft, it looks like our excitement and expectations over this coming season, and the next several seasons to come, will need to be tempered.
Its quite possible that players such as Wallace are not long going to be wearing the Black n Gold; that decisions will have to be made as to whether we keep a James Harrison, or cut him to be able to afford an Antonio Brown.
I hate to say it Steeler Nation, but it looks like fiscal realities could quickly slam shut the current "window of opportunity" the Steeler organization sees with its current roster of players and may overshadow and impede our acension up the Stairway to Seven.