It was believed the Steelers had the tiniest bit of wiggle room under the salary cap as they approached the new league year. Needing to save money in order to offer restricted free agent tenders and possibly use the franchise tag was a large concern. But with many players salaries increasing by about $100,000, the Steelers are now projected to be over the salary cap by more than $3 million according to overthecap.com.
There are several factors involved as to why the Steelers are believed to be above the salary cap for 2020 at this time. First, the salary cap ended up only being just over $198 million for 2020 which is almost $2 million below what was projected. Additionally, with many players in the top 51 salaries receiving a pay increase with the new CBA, the Steelers are going to have to find even more money to cut in order to be cap compliant.
With the new league year still scheduled to begin at 4 PM this Wednesday, the Steelers are going to have to shave $3 million off of their cap numbers without adding any more in salary. If the Steelers decide to use the franchise tag on Bud Dupree, they would need to find an additional $16 million. More importantly, the Steelers also have five restricted free agents where it would require offering a tender in order for the Steelers to definitely retain for 2020.
While at first it was believed a new CBA could possibly help the Steelers retain more of their players from 2019, the increase in salary and a smaller than projected salary cap has made it to where the Steelers are still in need of making multiple maneuvers to stay under the cap. Fortunately, the Steelers can use restructuring contracts and signing players to contract extensions in order to lower some of their numbers. One final option which was not on the table before a new CBA is designating a player as a post-June 1 cut should the Steelers release someone with more than one year left on their contract. By doing so, the dead money hit on a player could be spread out over two seasons rather than all in 2020.
The bottom line is the Steelers are going to have to make a lot of moves in the next few days. If they feel necessary to use the almost $16 million franchise tag on Bud Dupree, the Steelers are going to have a plan when it comes to reducing their salary cap number for 2020.
In other words, buckle up as roster moves are about to be coming which will greatly impact the Steelers 2020 roster.