Getting an exact number of a team's salary cap position amid fluid activity this time of the year is difficult, to put it mildly. Going off figures compiled by Jason at Over The Cap, the Steelers are approximately $3 million under the salary cap after Friday's restructuring of the base salary of Antonio Brown.
According to Tribune-Review reporter Mark Kaboly (who puts the Steelers at $3.6 million under the cap) the Steelers have cleared over $20 million in cap space in the last three days. Such aggressive moves can be construed as a team ready to buy in free agency.
Not a ton, mind you, but the league's new CBA created a salary floor to go along with its standard salary ceiling. In that, the dramatic rise of salaries of quarterbacks over the last five years is beginning to take root around the league. That is pushing teams with marquee quarterbacks (including the Steelers) to the edge of the cap. It doesn't mean they're unable to spend, but the prime free agency targets won't be considered.
Instead, teams like the Steelers are in a position to go after mid-range players, who's ultimate value is reducing due to a combination of lack of cap space for teams with high-end players and teams with huge cap space, but high draft picks. Since those high-end draft picks cost substantially less than they used to, a team won't sign Jason Worilds, for example, when they can select Khalil Mack in the first round of the NFL Draft.
That structure can work in the Steelers' favor, in that quality veteran players can be had for a little less than they could have gotten a few years previously.
Other moves by the Steelers are expected to be made today, namely the final decision on cornerback Ike Taylor (a release saves the team about $7 million in cap space and a restructure could save them around $3-4 million), the Steelers will have enough room to target their own free agents. Another expected move is the long-term deal for Jason Worilds, which will knock his cap number down from its current total of $9.75 million.
That extension could mean the post-June 1 release of LaMarr Woodley, which would give the team cap space as of June 1, but would account for the money it would need to sign its draft class.