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John Clayton thinks the Steelers salary cap issues are almost over

Will the Steelers be able to sign future free agents such as Emmanuel Sanders, Evandor "Ziggy" Hood, etc.? The salary cap may have cost us Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis. ESPN's John Clayton seems to think the Steelers cap issues may be coming to an end.

Joe Sargent

In his weekly edition of "Clayton's Mailbag" ESPN's John Clayton was asked by a reader when would the Steelers yearly cap issues finally be over.

How long will the Steelers be trapped in salary-cap purgatory? I'm growing tired of the strategy of extending key players and pushing cap charges into the future.

In his response Clayton said:

The Steelers are on the verge of getting out of cap hell. They will probably end the 2013 season $10-12 million over the cap instead of the $20-30 million they have endured the past several years. One adjustment on Ben Roethlisberger's contract will eat up almost $10 million of that overage. It might be a little tight in 2014, but after that, they should be fine. The worst is over.

I have to admit that I've wondered the same thing over the last few years. If not for the cap issues would we have resigned Mike Wallace? Probably not. The Steelers don't spend the kind of money that Wallace got from the Dolphins on wide receivers.

Would they have resigned Keenan Lewis? Again probably not. The rumor was that the Steelers didn't even offer him a contract. That was probably more that they were expecting his demands to be more than they were prepared to offer so why bother right? Plus it was also mentioned that Keenan Lewis took a below market value contract to play for his hometown Saints.

I know the Steelers are never going to be big players in free agency. It's just not who they are and I love they they prefer to build through the draft. But when the times arise where they need depth and their only realistic option is to go into the free agent market it would be nice if they had the financial flexibility to do so. This habit they've developed of giving new contracts to aging veterans and restructuring contracts and pushing the consequences to the following seasons has got to stop.

Hopefully John Clayton is right and the worst of it is behind us. It would be nice if we got past this little portion of history and got to a point where we didn't have to worry about whether or not the Steelers would be able to sign their young, budding superstars instead of letting them leave in free agency after having nurtured their talents for four years.

Will the Steelers resign Emmanuel Sanders to a long-term contract in 2014? Probably(not)?