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Ben Roethlisberger restructures contract, Steelers save $6 million

The third player of the off-season took one for the team by taking their pay up front, moving the Steelers closer to being salary cap compliant.

Jared Wickerham

The Pittsburgh Steelers have restructured their third - and heaviest - contract of the off-sesaon in Ben Roethlisberger, reportedly saving the team approximately $6 million against the salary cap, as the team attempts to squeeze within the limits by the official beginning of the 2013 NFL season on March 12, 2013.

Early reports estimate the team converted about $9 million of Roethlisberger's $10.6 million base salary into a signing bonus. His restructure will save the team about $6 million this season, but will add $3 million in dead money to both 2014 and 2015.

Depending on the final determination of the 2013 NFL salary cap, the Steelers are very close to cap compliance, although at least one more move is expected before 4 PM ET on March 12th - most likely a restructure of the highest remaining cap hit for 2013, LaMarr Woodley, whose restructure would save the team another $6 million by pushing dollars into future years' accounting.

Roethlisberger has two more seasons remaining on his contract, with his largest base salary of $12.1 million due in 2014. While many expected him to be offered an extension this season, those expectations can now be aimed at next season. A three year extension in 2014 would allow the team to restructure his significant salary across the five year deferral maximum as determined by the CBA.

The team was expected to finalize all restructures before the end of the week, meaning we should to expect news of Woodley by Friday, unless the team chooses to release a player to get under the cap, instead.