There are many downsides associated with Le’Veon Bell’s prolonged absence from the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the impact on the team’s salary-cap position isn’t one of them. With every week Bell misses, the Steelers save $855,529.41. So far, he’s effectively given back $2,566,588.23.
For a team that seems perpetually short on cap space, any extra funds are always welcome and, with Bell’s effort to preserve his body for his new team likely to extend well into the season, the savings appear set to keep coming. Should the recent rumors about Pittsburgh’s willingness to entertain a trade amount to anything, the Steelers could ultimately find themselves with the full $14.544 million Bell was due to earn coming back onto the books.
While there’s nothing to be gained from having a surplus amount of salary-cap space right now, Pittsburgh is already poised to rollover more cap dollars into 2019 than ever before. If Bell sits out until the final deadline to report before Week 11, this would save the Steelers an additional $5,988,705.87 on the season and see them carry around $13 million into next year. But if Bell misses the entire season, Pittsburgh could rollover close to $19 million, barring any unforeseen expenses.
With the notable assistance of salary cap specialist Ian Whetstone, we have detailed all of the Steelers’ salary-cap costs so far this season and we’ve calculated they are $7,010,892 under the cap as of Monday, September 24 — a figure that puts them ahead of 14 other teams in the league for cap space based on numbers from OverTheCap.com.
For those wondering why our total is so different than some of the other published figures available, it’s worth noting that, although OverTheCap.com has the Steelers listed as being $7,508,482 under the cap, their figure doesn’t appear to include a recent injury protection payment made to Ladarius Green worth $550,000. While the NFLPA public salary cap report lists a total of $11,267,435, it should be pointed out that their figures have yet to be updated to reflect the end of the rule-of-51 period. For reasons that make no real sense, Spotrac have Pittsburgh with over $20 million in cap space after prematurely deleting Bell from the ledger altogether.
As per Whetstone, it’s unclear if the money forfeited by Bell each week is immediately available as salary cap funds this season as first expected, or if it will be returned to the account at the start of next season in the form of an adjustment. But with the free-agent market having been picked clean months ago, it’s relatively unimportant when the funds hit the books between now and next year.
Should you notice an error in our figures, please let us know in the comments section below.