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The way-too-early Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 salary cap breakdown

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Although it’s ultimately next year’s problem, contracts signed now will also affect the 2021 salary cap situation

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Kevin Colbert on the sidelines in 2019
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In a previous article I talked about where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand regarding their 2020 salary cap and the work the team still has to do to stay cap compliant before the start of the 2020 season. Just for a fun project, I looked at how the team is sitting regarding the 2021 salary cap.

The first number Steelers fans notice when looking at the team’s page at Over the Cap, is the team being $28 million under the cap. That is not too bad, is it? If the team had 53 players under contract, that would be a fantastic number. Sadly, the team has 38 players under contract. It does not get a lot better when you look at those players. So before we delve into the actual facts and figures of the 2021 cap, let’s take a quick peek at the roster.

Be sure to catch a more detailed breakdown in the following video.

Nine current starters are not signed in 2021. (This includes punter and the nose tackle position.)

Ten players are undrafted rookie free agents who were signed after the 2020 draft.

The 2020 draft class is not yet included.

Six of the players are backups who have not logged meaningful playing time.


What is not included in the 2021 cap?

Two draft classes:

  • 2020 class 6 players: $4.8 million
  • 2021 class +/-7 players: $6.5 million (guesstimate)

52nd and 53rd players: $1.4 million

Practice squad: $1.9 million

Total expenditures: $14.6 million

I did not include carryover money as the 2020 carryover money is not calculated in and would be carried over to 2021 and 2022.


While the above figures are all estimates and the bottom of the roster could have undrafted rookie free agents who would be cheaper, it gives a broad stroke on where the team is sitting salary-cap wise. The $28 million the team started with initially is paired down to $13.4 million.

So I ask fans to keep that $13.4 million in the back of their mind when wanting to dole out restructures or extensions. Remember such moves not only affect this year, but future years as well.

Please comment below and express your opinions about the 2021 salary cap figure. Are you concerned with it? Will the team have to make some unpopular cuts or not sign some of the players who are not under contract?