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Updating the overall health of the Pittsburgh Steelers salary cap situation

Taking a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 salary cap situation.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Minicamp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Give Joe Haden a new contract.

Give Sean Davis a new contract

Give Mike Hilton a new contract.

Give Tre Boston a contract. (Update: Signed for $3 million for 2019.)

The Pittsburgh Steelers opened up cap space by restructuring Stephon Tuitt so the team is again flush with cash to spend. Time to go on a spending spree.

No, no, no and no!

What do you mean no? The team has $5 million to spend now but they should hold it back for a rainy day? The roundabout answer is yes. The team carries over around $3.5 million into the season exactly for a rainy day fund as do all NFL teams. When a player gets injured and put onto injured reserve another player has to take his spot. The salary the two players earn counts against the salary cap. This money is also kept in reserve in case another team comes and tries to poach one of our practice squad players. If a practice squad player is with the team, the whole season he will earn $129,200 or $7,600 per week. There is no maximum a practice squad player can make and the money may be used in a bidding war for a player. (The New England Patriots are well known for paying practices squad players above the minimum.) The team is now left with $1.5 million.

Now that $3.5 million has been chopped from the $5 million in cap space now the team needs to keep money squirreled away to actually pay the practice squad players. Right now we do not know who they will be but the Steelers need to account for their paychecks. There will be 10 players who will earn a minimum of $1,292,000. Pittsburgh does not make a habit of paying practice squad players over the minimum but they have in the past and no doubt a certain amount is figured in. For this exercise, $1.5 million will be allocated. All the cap space has now been dispersed but there is a slight issue. The rule of 51.

The Rule of 51 is one of the odd NFL rules where during the offseason only the top 51 salaries count against the cap. But during the season the team carries 53 players. As these players salaries are not accounted for now, they must be figured in when discussing cap space.

Jaylen Samuels ($634,516) and Zach Gentry ($581,115) are those two players. Their combined salaries are over $1.2 million.

There are several players who sit outside of the top 53 who should/could make the roster and take the spots of more expensive players inside the top 53. With the team $1.2 million in the red, could enough displacement bring the total to zero? Possibly. A player such as Ola Adeniyi will earn $575,000 or Damian Prince will earn $495,000 compared to more expensive players.

Pittsburgh’s American Express card is under the credit limit right now but food, (10 practice squad players) mortgage, (52nd and 53 players) and the NFL Game Pass (Carryover) has not been paid for yet. So there is no 65’ big screen in the near future. Unless Davis, Haden, or Hilton sign a deal that is cheaper than their current cap numbers, the Steelers would dig themselves into a deeper hole.

The wiggle room the team made with Tuitt’s restructure is already spent but how will the Steelers make more wiggle room and get out of the red? That is the burning question that must be answered in the next five weeks.


How does the Steelers solve their cap issue?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Another restructure.
    (271 votes)
  • 31%
    Through displacement.
    (126 votes)
397 votes total Vote Now