Almost a week after it was reported tight end Eric Ebron was signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers on a two-year deal worth $12 million, the specific amount of the contract and how they implicate the salary cap have now been made available. According to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, Ebron will earn a $1 million salary in 2020 along with a $5 million signing bonus.
Eric Ebron (Steelers), two years, $12M ($5M signing bonus), salaries $1M, $5.5M; $500K 5th day 2021 roster bonus— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 27, 2020
The exact number on the contract for Ebron is quite team friendly for the Steelers when it comes to how it is distributed. After the expected $1 million base salary, Ebron was given a $5 million signing bonus. When working this out for his salary for 2020, it is evenly split as he will earn $6 million for the 2020 season and the other $6 million in the form of $5.5 million base salary and a $500k roster bonus for 2021.
With the signing bonus being split up to count towards the salary cap over both seasons, Ebron will only count $3.5 million towards the 2020 salary cap and $8.5 million for 2021. The salary distribution is beneficial to the Steelers as it helps them keep their salary cap number down for the season. Additionally, should Ebron not work out after one season in Pittsburgh, the Steelers can free up $6 million towards the 2021 salary cap simply by releasing him. If Ebron performs as the Steelers anticipate, either he can play out the final year of his deal or the Steelers could look to give an extension beyond 2021 where more of the salary could be converted to a signing bonus and would be split up over the length of the contract.
Before the NFL’s free agency period began, there were numerous fans who had thrown Ebron’s name around as someone for the Steelers to sign. Believing the salary would be too large and not team friendly, many others such as myself did not think the signing would be possible. But coming off of an injury in a time where it is difficult for teams to get physicals on players they are hoping to sign, the Steelers got Ebron for a reasonable price as well as a good contract structure.
As for the Steelers salary cap, they are currently listed with just over $7 million of space under the salary cap according to the experts at overthecap.com. The only contract from the Steelers of significance which has not been accounted for in their calculation (since the contracts of XFL players should be negligible since they are merely replacing other contracts if they fall in the top 51) is the trade for Ravens’ defensive lineman Chris Wormley. With a 2020 salary of $2.133 million, The Steelers look to be just over $5 million in the clear when it comes to the salary cap.